Areas of Interest & Expertise
- Importance of nature in cities
- Cities as interlinked social-ecological systems
- Environmental history of cities
- Challenges of urban sustainability in India
- Nature based solutions provided by urban ecosystems
- Role of media in climate change debate
What role does nature have to play in making cities more sustainable? How can I contribute to making the cities we live in more equitable? These are the questions that drive my current research interests.
I enjoy exploring different aspects of urban sustainability along with students from the University and from other institutions as they bring with them interesting questions and lenses through which to explore cityscapes. What I am especially interested in is making research accessible to a wider audience.
My recently co-authored books (with Harini Nagendra), “Shades of Blue: Connecting the Drops in India’s Cities” (Penguin India), “Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities” (Penguin India), and “So Many Leaves” (Pratham Books) are attempts in this direction.
I am also interested in action research, for example understanding the impacts of development projects on urban green cover, that can contribute even in a small way to bridging the divide between the binary of development and environment.
I started with a master’s in business administration and a career in the corporate sector but moved to work with NGOs involved in conservation, mining, land and forest rights, and education of indigenous communities. My shift to working in the urban context began after my second postgraduate degree, a master’s in development at the University in 2014. But I found the real meaning of life after I got my pet cats, and now also foster orphaned and abandoned kittens as part of the Bangalore Cat Squad.
Help develop a social-environmental systems perspective on environmental science and sustainability challenges.
- Dhruthi Somesh, Harini Nagendra, Ranjini Murali, Rohit Rao, Seema Mundoli (2022)
Chapter in a Books
- Seema Mundoli, Dechamma C S, Harini Nagendra (2021)
21 Days and Counting : COVID-19 Lockdown, Migrant Workers, and the Inadequacy of Welfare Measures in IndiaRajendran Narayanan, Seema Mundoli (2020)
Resilient Cities: A relook at our cities from an ecological perspective
By 2050, over 68% of the human population will live in urban areas. Cities will bear the maximum brunt. How to make them more resilient? Watch Seema Mundoli and Kaustubh Rau, faculty members, Azim Premji University, discuss this.
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2023). Shades of Blue: Connecting the Drops in India’s Cities. Penguin Viking. https://www.penguin.co.in/book/shades-of-blue/
- Somesh, D., Rao., R, Murali, R., Mundoli, S., & Nagendra H. (2022). Chasing Soppu. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. https://azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/publications/2022/book/chasing-soppu
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2021). So Many Leaves! Pratham Books, Level 3 Reader for Children (in English, Hindi, Marathi, French and Italian). https://store.prathambooks.org/productDetails?productId=So-Many-Leaves-English
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019). Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities. Penguin. https://www.penguin.co.in/book/cities-and-canopies/
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2020). Where have all our Gunda Thopes Gone: A Meeting of Old Friends Maranna and Lakshmamma (In English-Kannada, English-Hindi). Illustrated by Neeharika Verma, Sukanya Basu and Sahana Subramanian. May 2020, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/2496/
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (Eds.). (Forthcoming). Urban Sustainability Challenges in India. Orient Blackswan.
- Andrews, H.V., Jayaraj, R. S.C., & Mundoli, S. (Eds). (2006). State of Environment, Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago. Universities Press.
Chapters in Edited Books
- Mundoli, S,. Dechamma, C.S., Auddy, M., Sanfui, A., & Nagendra H. (2022). Chapter 2: A new imagination for waste and water in India’s peri-urban interface. In V. Narain & D. Roth (Eds.), Water Security, Conflict and Cooperation in Peri-Urban South Asia: Flows Across Boundaries (pp. 27 – 44), Springer.
- Mundoli, S., Dechamma, C. S., Auddy, M., Sanfui, A., & Nagendra, H. (2021). A new imagination for waste and water in India’s peri-urban interface. Flows Across Frontiers: Water Security, Conflicts and Cooperation in Peri-urban South Asia, pp. 27 – 43. Springer. https://publications.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/3427/
- Mundoli, S., Hariprasad, V. M., Venkatraman, P., & Nagendra, H. (under review). Urban visions that risk urban social and ecological sustainability: Smart cities in India. In: Urban Sustainability Challenges in India. Orient Blackswan.
- Mundoli, S. & Nagendra, H. (2020). Cultural and sacred worship of urban nature. (Chapter 52). In: Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology (Second edition). Routledge.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2020). Values, justice and urban ecosystems (Chapter 54). In: Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology (Second edition). Routledge.
- Basole, A., Idiculla, M., Narayanan, R., Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2020). Strengthening towns through sustainable employment. In: Reviving Jobs: An Agenda for Growth. Penguin.
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., Nagendra, H. (2019). Urban commons of the Global South: Using multiple frames to illuminate complexity (Chapter 18). In: Routledge Handbook of the Study of Commons (pp 220 – 234). Routledge.
- Mundoli, S., Sanfui, A., & Nagendra, H. (2023). Pestilential or productive? Tracking two centuries of environmental change and current perceptions about ecosystem services of the east Kolkata wetlands. Urbanisation. https://doi.org/10.1177/24557471231202389
- Mundoli S, Jacob, Z., Murali, R., & Nagendra, H. (2022). Climate change: The missing discourse in the Parliament. Environmental Research: Climate, 1(1). 10.1088/2752 – 5295/ac7d67
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019). Communicating environmental science to the public. Current Science, 117(1), 7 – 8. https://doi.org/10.18520/cs%2Fv117%2Fi1%2F7‑8
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2018). Lakes of Bengaluru: The ones living but now endangered peri-urban commons. Working Paper Series, 10, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.
- Jaganmohan, M., Vailshery, L. S., Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2018). Biodiversity in sacred urban spaces of Bengaluru, India. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 32, 64 – 70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2018.03.021
- Unnikrishnan, H., Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2017). Making water flow in Bengaluru: Planning for the resilience of water supply in a semi-arid city. Journal of Sustainable Urbanization, Planning and Progress, 2(1), 1 – 11. http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/JSUPP.2017.01.002
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2017). Commons that provide: The importance of Bengaluru’s wooded groves for urban resilience. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, Special Issue, 9(2), 184 – 206. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2016.1264404
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., & Nagendra, H. (2017). The “sustainable” in smart cities: Ignoring the importance of urban ecosystems. Decision (Journal of the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta), 44( 2), 103 – 120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40622-017‑0152‑x
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., & Nagendra, H. (2017). Nurturing urban commons for sustainable urbanisation in India. Journal of the India International Centre, 43(3−4), 258 – 270. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780429023996 – 19/nurturing-urban-commons-sustainable-urbanisation-seema-mundoli-hita-unnikrishnan-harini-nagendra
- Mundoli, S., Joseph, G. J., & Setty, S. (2016). ‘Shifting agriculture’: The changing dynamics of adivasi farming in the forest-fringes of a tiger reserve in South India. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 40(8), 759 – 82. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2016.1189475
- Unnikrishnan, H., Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2016). Down the drain: The tragedy of the disappearing urban commons of Bengaluru. South Asian Water Studies (SAWAS), Special Issue 5(3), 7 – 11. https://publications.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/83/
- Purushothaman, S., Ravi, C., Nagendra, H., Mathai, M., Mundoli, S., Joseph, G.J., Barna, S., Nawn, N., Gopalan, R., Bursztyn, M., Padmanabhan, M., Duncan, S., & DeFries, R. (2016). Sustainability on higher education for the Global South: A conversation across geographies and disciplines. Sustainability in Debate, 7(1), 156 – 173. 10.18472/SustDeb.v7n1.2016.17424
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2015). Effects of urbanization on the use of lakes as commons in the peri-urban interface of Bengaluru. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 7(1), 89 – 108. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2014.982124
- Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019, December 20). Tree-themed holiday activities for your children. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/tree-themed-holiday-activities-for-your-children/article30359558.ece
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2019, May 1). A National Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme for India. Deccan Herald. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/comment/a‑national-urban-employment-scheme-for-india-731648.html
- Mundoli, S., Nagendra, H. (2017, December 17). Environment: a pittance for disaster. Deccan Chronicle. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/decaf/171217/environment-a-pittance-for-disaster.html
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2015, August 3) “Bellanduru: Ondu Kere, Halavaaru Arthagalu” (Bellandur: One lake, multiple meanings). Prajavani.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2015, July 30). “Gunduthopu: Mareyaaguthive hasira guruthu” (Gundathopes: Forgotten patches of green in the concrete city). Prajavani.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2015, June 26). Of lakes and livelihoods in Bengaluru. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/of-lakes-and-livelihoods-in-bengaluru/article7356891.ece.
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2015, June 24). The sacred lakes of Bengaluru. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/the-sacred-lakes-of-bengaluru/article7346811.ece
- Mundoli, S., Sanfui, A., & Nagendra, H. (2022, May 29). From a buzzword to a standard: Challenges in mainstreaming nature-based solutions in urban planning in the Global South. The Nature of Cities. https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2023/05/29/from-a-buzzword-to-a-standard-challenges-in-mainstreaming-nature-based-solutions-in-urban-planning-in-the-global-south/
- Mundoli, S. (2023, May 18). Chasing Soppu: A guide to wild edible plants in Bengaluru. Citizen Matters. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/chasing-soppu-a-guide-to-wild-edible-plants-in-bengaluru-117257.
- Mundoli, S. (2022, April 20). Invest in planetary boundaries and take global responsibility for addressing climate change. Let me breathe. https://letmebreathe.in/2023/04/20/planetary-boundaries-and-global-responsibility-for-addressing-climate-change/
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2022). How to bridge the gap between environmental research and action. Learning Curve, 13, August 2022. URL: https://azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/news/2022/connecting-environmental-research-and-action
- Mundoli, S. (2022, May 17). Hope for a planet in peril. Let me breathe. https://letmebreathe.in/2022/05/17/hope-for-a-planet-in-peril/
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2022, January 8). Kerala scheme shows how to create work opportunities while caring for the environment. Scroll.in. https://scroll.in/article/1014561/kerala-scheme-shows-how-to-create-work-opportunities-while-caring-for-the-environment
- Subramanian, S., Verma, N., Basu, S., Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2022, January 2). Where have all our gunda thopes gone? An illustrated story of loss and hope around peri-urban commons in Karnataka, India. The Nature of Cities. https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2022/01/02/where-have-all-our-gunda-thopes-gone-an-illustrated-story-of-loss-and-hope-around-peri-urban-commons-in-karnataka-india/
- Adhikari, A, & Mundoli, S. (2020, May 12). To get trains, migrants stuck with English forms, OTPs and more.NDTV. https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/to-get-trains-migrants-stuck-with-english-forms-otps-and-more-2227458
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra H. (2020, February). Urbanization and agriculture. Agriculture World.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2018, March 27). Bengaluru: From city of lakes to scarce water. Southword.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2018, February). Smart cities are coming. It is important that they be as much about nature, health, and wellbeing as traffic flows, crime detection, and evermore efficient provision of utilities. But how? The Nature of Cities. https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2018/02/20/smart-cities/
- Mundoli, S., Sanfui A., & Nagendra, H. (2021). Converting waste to wealth: Ecosystem services of the East Kolkata Wetlands in India. In: The Disappearing Dialogues
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2018). Commons in “no-man’s land”: Status and governance of rural commons in the urban fringes of Bengaluru city, India. In: Proceedings of The Sixth Annual Conference of Network of Rural and Agrarian Studies, 20 – 22 September 2018 at Central University Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2017, September 13 to 15). Losing our commons: Land use changes to peri-urban commons of Bengaluru city. In: 2nd Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting, Seoul, South Korea.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2016). Planning for resilience. Ecosystem services of Bengaluru’s wooded groves. In: Eleventh Annual International Conference on Public Policy and Management, 8 – 9 August, 2016, Indian Instittue of Management, Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., & Nagendra, H. (2016, June 24 – 25). Losing the commons: Rapid changes to the gunda thopes of Bengaluru. In: Bangalore’s ‘Great Transformation, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S., Manjunatha, B., Unnikrishnan, H., & Nagendra, H. (2016, January 22 – 23). Shifting sands: Fluid landscapes of water commons in Bengaluru. In: 11th Annual ISOLA Conference 2016, Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., & Nagendra, H. (2016, January 4 – 6). Commons that provide: Multiple uses and vulnerabilities of Bengaluru’s urban commons. In: 8th Biennial Conference of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE), Bengaluru.
- Nagendra, H., Mundoli, S., & Nishanth, V. (2023, February). Environmental impacts of proposed flyover on Sankey Road. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S., Kapoor, V., Patankar, S., Gala, M., & Nagendra, H. (2021, September 29). Ecological impacts of proposed smart city development plan in Cubbon Park.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2021, 9 July). The unconventional biodiversity hotspots in urban and peri-urban Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2020). Why every tree in our cities count.
- Mundoli, S., & Nagendra, H. (2020). Heritage trees of urban India: Importance and their protection.
- Mundoli, S., Murali, R., & Nagendra, H. (2020) Environmental and ecological impacts of tree-felling and road widening of Bengaluru’s outer roads.
- Basole, A., Narayanan, R., Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019). Strengthening Towns through Sustainable Employment: A Job Guarantee Programme for Urban India. Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University.
- Nagendra, H., Mundoli, S., & Nishant, V. (2017). Report on environmental and ecological impacts of tree felling for proposed steel flyover on Bellary Road and road widening of Jayamahal Main Road, Bengaluru.
- Mundoli, S. (2011). Impacts of governance policies on the sustenance of tribal people in the Eastern Ghats (Bilingual: English and Telugu). Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children-Samata, Visakhapatnam, India.
- Nagendra, H. & Mundoli, S. (2023, September 28). Water in the age of climate change, with Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli. Forbes India. https://www.forbesindia.com/audio/from— the— bookshelves/water— in— the— age— of— climate— change— with— harini— nagendra— and— seema— mundoli/88587