Seema D. Iyer, former chief of research and strategic planning for the Baltimore City Department of Planning, has been named associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute in the Merrick School of Business. Iyer will assist the institute's director, David Stevens, in its management and strategic planning objectives, and will work with UB faculty on various collaborative research opportunities. She also will engage with area organizations and government agencies on community-based and economic development priorities.
Merrick’s Jacob France Institute is a leading source of high quality statistical, economic, workforce and neighborhood-based information and research covering the interaction of business, worker and government investment decisions. The analysis of trends in Maryland's labor market and employment, along with policy implications of education and workforce training on employment outcomes, define the broad categories of JFI's research portfolio. The institute also serves as home to the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, which is part of the Urban Institute's national partnership of sites that provide longitudinal, community-based data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability.
Prior to joining UB, Iyer managed Baltimore's division responsible for data and policy analysis, geographic information systems services and population forecasting. She spearheaded part of the city's critical planning efforts as director of the 2010 Census Complete Count Campaign and co-chair of its 2009 Food Policy Task Force. In 2006, she was project manager of Baltimore's Comprehensive Master Plan, and, in 2008, she managed the city's planning grant to develop the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
"Seema brings to JFI a unique blend of interdisciplinary, intersectoral and multi-national experience, which will deepen JFI's reach through extraordinary data and policy analyses," said Darlene Smith, dean of the Merrick School of Business. "She understands Maryland, the Baltimore region and local neighborhoods, and knows that planning is all about linking our present circumstances to a vision for the future, which we can reach through collaborative efforts. We are all very happy to have her on our team."
Iyer holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has extensive international research experience gained through her study of comprehensive planning strategies in post-socialist countries. Iyer's publications include "The Urban Context for Adjustments to the Planning Process in post-Soviet Russia," in International Planning Studies, and "Permanence of the 'Frost Belt' in Post-Soviet Russia," in the book Migration, Homeland and Belonging in Eurasia.
Iyer also has previously worked in higher education, as a visiting lecturer in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of City and Regional Planning, and as a faculty lecturer in the Department of City Planning and Architecture at Morgan State University.
She earned a master of arts degree in regional science and a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and Russian studies, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
Among her professional activities, Iyer is a member of the American Planning Association, the Baltimore chapter of the Urban Land Institute and an affiliate of the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education. In 2010, she was selected as one of Maryland's Leading Women by the Daily Record.