Shriya anchors the Urban Informatics Lab at IIHS, which analyses, communicates and disseminates data and information related to India’s urbanisation. The Lab aims to develop new and innovative methods to study cities using both primary and secondary data, but also to simply and effectively communicate the insights arising from this analysis with different stakeholders.
In 2015-16, she co-directed the Urban Fellows Programme, IIHS’ flagship programme that seeks to equip, nurture and prepare a new generation of graduates and young professionals committed to the common good, who would go on to address India’s complex urban challenges through diverse practices.
Her research at IIHS is primarily centered on the Indian urban economy and economic geography, with a particular focus on the role of employment in urban development and poverty reduction. She has recently been studying large industrial infrastructure projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, their relationship with urbanisation and associated choices about development pathways. IDFC, IGC (International Growth Centre), SEWA, UNESCO, UNDP, Tamil Nadu Department of Municipal Administration and Development Innovations Group are clients she has worked with. She holds a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Masters in Mathematics from Cambridge University, UK.
While at Princeton, she worked with New Jersey Future, a non-profit organisation established to promote sustainable land use practices in the state of New Jersey, where she carried out research on the integration of economic and spatial planning in American cities. She also worked on a project for the International Monetary Fund, DC, looking at macroeconomic policy frameworks in East Africa, with a focus on prospects for inflation targeting and a monetary union. For her summer internship, she worked in Cambodia on a plan for a web-based information platform aggregating data on development and environmental issues in Cambodia.
Before her graduate education in public policy, she worked with the National Knowledge Commission, Delhi, an advisory panel constituted by the Prime Minister of India in 2005 to provide recommendations on how to improve India’s potential as a knowledge economy. There, she liaised with sector experts, carried out surveys, provided research support, and prepared policy papers on innovation and entrepreneurship in the Indian economy, vocational education, and library policy.
After that, she worked at the Centre for Development Finance, Chennai between 2007 and 2009. Here, she was responsible for expanding the work of the Urban Infrastructure and Governance team. Her work focused on urban infrastructure provision to low-income groups, specifically on developing innovative financing strategies and addressing governance challenges. There, she provided advisory inputs for the High Power Expert Committee on financing infrastructure, chaired by Dr Isher Ahluwalia. She prepared a case study on the Slum Networking Program in Ahmedabad, for presentation at the Boulder Housing Microfinance Program in 2008. She also managed an international competition to unearth instances of innovative institutional responses to India’s urban challenges in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.