James L. Wescoat, Jr. is the Aga Khan Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and practiced landscape architecture in the U.S. and Middle East before returning to graduate study in geography at the University of Chicago with an emphasis on water resources. He taught courses on landscape research, geographic theory, and water resources at the University of Chicago and University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a member of centers for South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Public Policy studies.
His research has concentrated on water systems in South Asia and the US from the site to river basin scales. For the greater part of his career, Professor Wescoat has focused on small-scale historical waterworks of Mughal gardens and cities in India and Pakistan. He led the Smithsonian Institution's project titled, "Garden, City, and Empire: The Historical Geography of Mughal Lahore," which resulted in a co-edited volume onMughal Gardens: Sources, Places, Representations, Prospects, and The Mughal Garden: Interpretation, Conservation, and Implicationswith colleagues from the University of Engineering and Technology-Lahore. These and related books have won awards from the Government of Pakistan and Punjab Government. The overall Mughal Gardens Project won an American Society of Landscape Architects national research merit award, as did a project on The Moonlight Garden: New Discoveries at the Tajled by Elizabeth Moynihan. This work has been generously supported by fellowships from Dumbarton Oaks, the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Asian Art, and the American Academy in Rome.
Professor Wescoat has conducted water policy research in the Colorado, Indus, Ganges, and Great Lakes basins, including the history of multilateral water agreements. He led a USEPA-funded study of potential climate impacts in the Indus River Basin in Pakistan with the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). More recently, he led an NSF-funded project on "Water and Poverty in Colorado." He is currently conducting comparative research on international water problems. In 2003, he published Water for Life: Water Management and Environmental Policywith geographer Gilbert F. White (Cambridge University Press); and in 2007 he co-edited Political Economies of Landscape Change: Places of Integrative Power(Springer Publishing) for LAF Landscape Futures Initiative.
Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture. "Tajikistan Final Report, for the ADKN Disaster Risk Management Initiative." Summary of Findings, Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2014.
Final report dated February 14, 2014. Tajikistan Bibliographic Search Results.
The DRMI-AKPIA Knowledge Bank on Disaster Risk Reduction in Village Planning is a searchable digital library accessible through Archnet. The Knowledge Bank serves the union, rather than the intersection, of the two fields of Village Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction. While the initial geographic scope focuses on the mountain region of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan - subsequent extensions will be added to include Kyrgyzstan, India, and Nepal. These geographic foci will enable knowledge sharing and comparison of programs across AKDN country offices and AKPIA research groups. The content material for each of these countries includes: 1) references to published scientific books and articles; 2) grey literature reports; 3) updatable databases (e.g., on disasters, censuses, etc.); 4) maps and GIS layers; 5) institutional maps with contact information; and 6) village planning precedents.