FutureDAMS Partner: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

The Department of Geography team at the University of Cambridge will undertake a review of the work of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and its final report in 2000.  The WCD was an attempt to change the way large dams were conceived, designed and developed.

The project will assess the activities, achievements and limitations of the WCD’s work, in the light of future innovation in dam design and planning (as proposed in the FutureDAMS project).

The work will:

i) Complete a literature review of research on the aims and legacies of the WCD

ii) Analyse the aspirations, methods and legacy of the WCD as a science policy interface, drawing on in-depth interviews with key actors

iii) Analyse changes in the knowledge systems, methods and training used in contemporary dam system design and management drawing on in-depth interviews with dam-related professionals.

Key Staff:

Professor Bill Adams: Bill is Moran Professor of Conservation and Development at the University of Cambridge, where he has taught in the Department of Geography since 1984. Bill’s research concerns the balances struck between conservation and sustainable development.  He has worked mainly in Africa and the UK.

His books include Wasting the Rain: rivers, people and planning in Africa (Minnesota University Press, 1992) Future Nature: a vision for conservation (Earthscan 2003), Against Extinction: the story of conservation (Earthscan 2004) and Green Development: environment and sustainability in a developing world (Routledge, third edition 2009).

Dr Christopher Schulz is a Research Associate with Bill Adams, working on the legacy and impacts of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). He joined the FutureDAMS team in August 2018, following a previous research position at the University of St Andrews, and a PhD in Geography at the University of Edinburgh.

His interdisciplinary research interests include science-policy interfaces, environmental values and governance, and the relationship between environment and development more generally. Previous work has been published in journals such as Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Change, and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, among others.

About the Department of Geography:

The Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge has 42 academic staff, plus a strong post-doctoral research community and around 100 PhD students.  Research is strongly interdisciplinary, and spans the natural and social sciences and humanities. Research addresses a broad range of topics, approaches, and sites of study. Expertise is both conceptual and applied and research goals are both ‘blue sky’ and policy-oriented. Research activities are structured through six thematic research groups, three centred in human geography (social sciences and humanities), and three in physical geography (natural science).  Research for the FutureDAMS project draws on work across all three human geography groups  (Vital Geographies, Infrastructural Geographies and Geographies of Knowledge).