I studied Geography at Cambridge University and worked as an environmental consultant for two years before going on to do an MA in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield in 1992. Having completed a PhD on local environmental policy, I moved to become a Lecturer in the University of Bradford’s Department of Environmental Science, and was made Senior Lecturer in 2004.
In 2013 I returned to Sheffield and re-joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
I am an active member of the Pennine Water Group and the Sheffield Water Centre. I pioneer collaborative research with water governance organisations and the public to seek out new or different ways of making a better (more resilient, equitable and efficient) water system.
I focus on the governance of the environment, and specifically the processes through which the public are engaged (or not) in making and implementing environmental policy. The two central research questions that my research addresses are:
What new patterns of water governance are emerging, and how do they serve the sustainability goals of adaptation to climate change and effective public engagement?
How can interpretive research collaborate with more traditional approaches to science and water practice in driving forward new patterns of water governance?
The main empirical focus for my work is water policy including water supply and demand, water in the landscape, and flooding. Some elements of my work have also looked at waste and energy policy.
Current and Recent Research Projects
My role as a teacher is to support students in learning how to access information and to think critically about environmental topics. My classes are conceived as a forum in which students can develop, support and interrogate their understandings and opinions. I teach on the following modules:
- TRP105, The Environmental Challenge
- TRP215, European Fieldclass
- TRP333, Environmental Policy and Planning
I am Primary Supervisor for the following PhD students:
- Fiona Calder, Involving customers in directing water supply and sewerage outcomes
- Fatima Ajia, Public communications in the adaptive water utility
- Juliet de Little, Planning for resilience under multi-stakeholder risk management
- Emmanuel Maiyanga, Domestic water consumption patterns and the future of potable water in Abuja, Nigeria
- Hayyan Rozi, Strategies for incorporating low carbon city planning into government regulations to reduce the carbon emissions of rrban areas: A case study of Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia
I welcome applications from students interested in PhD research relating to: water management policies and practices in the UK or in other developed countries (with a particular focus on whether and how sustainability is defined, developed or promoted); the processes and experiences of innovation and knowledge development in water management (with a particular focus on how co-operation is achieved between academic disciplines, and how academia and practice interact).
- Foden M, Browne A, Evans D, Sharp L & Watson M (2018) The water–energy–food nexus at home: New opportunities for policy interventions in household sustainability. The Geographical Journal. View this article in WRRO
- Sharp L, Macrorie R & Turner A (2015) Resource efficiency and the imagined public: insights from cultural theory. Global Environmental Change, 34, 196-206.
- Westling E, Surridge B, Sharp L, Lerner D (2014) Making sense of landscape change: long-term perceptions among local residents following river restoration. Journal of Hydrology 519, 2613-2623.
- Westling E, Sharp L, Rychlewski M & Carrozza C (2014) Developing adaptive capacity through reflexivity: lessons from collaborative research with a UK water utility. Critical Policy Studies, 8(4), 427-446.
- Tukur A, Sharp L, Stern B, Tizaoui C, & Benkreira H (2012) PET bottle use patterns and antimony migration into bottled water and soft drinks: the case of British and Nigerian bottles. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14, 1237–1247.
- Sharp L, McDonald A, Sim P, Knamiller C, Sefton C & Wong S (2011) Positivism, post-positivism and domestic water demand. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36, 501–515.
- Knamiller C & Sharp L (2009) Issues of trust, fairness and efficacy: a qualitative study of information provision for newly metered households in England. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 9 (3), 323-331.
- Wong S and Sharp L (2009) Making power explicit in sustainable water innovation: re-linking subjectivity, institution and structure through environmental citizenship. Environmental Politics, 18(1) 18-37.
- Westling E, Lerner D & Sharp L (2009) Using secondary data to analyse socio-economic impacts of water management actions. Journal of Environmental Management, 91, 2, 411-422.
- Thatcher J & Sharp L (2008) Measuring the local economic impact of National Health Service procurement in the UK: an evaluation of the Cornwall Food Programme and LM3. Local Environment, 13(3), 253-270.
- Dixon J & Sharp L (2007) Collaborative research in sustainable water management: issues of interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 32(3), 221-232.
- Sharp L (2006) Water demand management in England and Wales: Constructions of the domestic water user. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 49(6), 869-889.
- Sharp L & Luckin D (2006) The community waste sector and waste services in the UK: Current state and future prospects. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 47(3), 277-294.
- Brown RR, Sharp L & Ashley RM (2006) Implementation impediments to institutionalising the practice of sustainable urban water management. Water Science & Technology, 54(6-7), 415-415.
- Luckin D & Sharp L (2005) Exploring the community waste sector:Are sustainable development and social capital useful concepts for project-level research?. Community Development Journal, 40(1), 62-75.
- Luckin D & Sharp L (2004) Remaking Local Governance through Community Participation? The Case of the UK Community Waste Sector. Urban Studies, 41(8), 1485-1505.
- Sharp L (2002) Public Participation and Policy: Unpacking connections in one UK Local Agenda 21. Local Environment, 7(1), 7-22.
- Sharp L & Richardson T (2001) Reflections on Foucauldian discourse analysis in planning and environmental policy research. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 3(3), 193-209.
- Sharp L (1999) Local policy for the global environment: In search of a new perspective. Environmental Politics, 8(4), 137-159.