The role of place in adapting to climate change: A case study from Ladakh, Western Himalayas

Kimiko Barrett, Keith Bosak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This research explores the nexus of climate change and socio-economic change with a focus on the significance that local conditions (physical and cultural) can have in influencing vulnerability and resilience. In order to better examine how climate change impacts interact with socio-economic changes and are experienced at the community scale, this research integrates household survey data with geospatial processing techniques. Two comparative study sites, one rural and one urban, were selected in the region of Ladakh; an area experiencing severe climate change impacts alongside rapid socioeconomic and political changes. Archival data was used to supplement survey responses and provide additional historical context. Survey responses were then combined with Hot Spot and Kernel density analysis in ArcGIS to identify areas of high and low spatial concentration and correlation. While climate change is widely perceived in many Western Himalayan mountain communities, impacts of climate change as an issue of high importance are moderated by other pressing socioeconomic, cultural, and political concerns. The role of locality and place-based themes such as community attachment, social cohesion, and sense of place, emerged as influential factors in enhancing social resilience and thereby reducing dimensions of local vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number898
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 21 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Resilience
  • Sense of place
  • Vulnerability


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