Jessica Seddon

Director, Integrated Urban Strategy


Jessica is the Director of Integrated Urban Strategy at WRI Ross Center for Cities. She is the global lead for the Urban Development team, a network of researchers and practitioners across WRI’s offices that focuses on helping cities leverage spatial planning tools and strategic investments to achieve resource-efficient, equitable, resilient, and livable cities. Jessica also works with teams across the Cities and other programs at WRI to develop and implement information platforms that motivate and support government, business, and community collaboration toward sustainable urbanization. Outside of WRI, Jessica serves on the advisory board of the Wilderhill Global Clean Energy Index (NEX).

Prior to joining WRI, Jessica co-founded and led Okapi, an India-based strategy group incubated at IIT Madras that focuses on institutional design for social innovation. Her earlier career spans academic and strategic advisory roles focused on institutional design for integrating science into policy and social initiatives. Jessica has worked with a number of institutions in India, including as Visiting Fellow at IDFC Institute (Mumbai); Senior Fellow at the Center for Technology and Policy, IIT Madras; Head of Research at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (Bangalore); and Director of the Centre for Development Finance at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (Chennai). In her U.S.-based work, she has served as Strategic Advisor for the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2) and Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego. She was also a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, working on institutional design for global air quality management.

Jessica has published book chapters and articles on infrastructure, Indian political economy, IT and governance, environmental regulation and other institutional design topics in international academic and policy venues including Cambridge University Press, Journal of Development Economics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Foreign Affairs, Bloomberg Business Week and Harvard Business Review. She writes a monthly column for Mint, a leading business daily in India.

Seddon earned her Ph.D. in Political Economy from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her B.A. in Government and Latin American Studies from Harvard University. 


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