Climate change and coastal megacities: adapting through mobility

Ekoh, Susan S. / Lemir Termon / Idowu Ajibade
External Publications (2023)

in: Global Environmental Change 80, article 102666

Open access

Climate change poses threats to individuals, communities, and cities globally. Global conversations and scholarly debates have explored ways people adapt to the impacts of climate change including through migration and relocation. This study uses Lagos, Nigeria as a case study to examine the relationship between flooding events, migration intentions as a preferred adaptation, and the destination choices for affected residents. The study draws on a mixed-methods approach which involved a survey of 352 residents and semi-structured interviews with 21 residents. We use a capability approach to analyze mobility decisions following major or repetitive flood events. We found that the majority of affected residents are willing to migrate but the ability to do so is constrained by economic, social, and political factors leading to involuntary immobility. Furthermore, intra-city relocation is preferred to migration to other states in Nigeria or internationally. These findings challenge popular Global South-North migration narratives. Indeed, some residents welcome government-supported relocation plans but others remain skeptical due to lack of trust. Community-based relocation may therefore be preferred by some Lagosians. Overall, this study contributes a nuanced understanding of mobility intentions in response to climate-induced flooding in one of the world’s largest coastal cities.

About the author

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Asimeng, Emmanuel Theodore

Urban Planning, Sustainability 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Dippel, Beatrice


Donnelly, Aiveen

Politcal Science 

Goedeking, Nicholas

Comparative Political Economy 

Gutheil, Lena

Cultural Anthropology 

Jauregui Fung, Franco

Architecture, Urban Agglomerations 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Löpelt, Sarah

International relations and Sustainability policy 

Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Zumegen, Lisa

Urban Transformation