Seema Mundoli

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 recent co-authored books, 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 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 working 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. 


Journal Articles

  • Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019). Communicating environmental science to the public. Current Science, 117(1), 7 – 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​.​u​f​u​g​.​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​/​J​S​U​P​P​.​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.‑x
  • Mundoli, S., Unnikrishnan, H., & Nagendra, H. (2017). Nurturing urban commons for sustainable urbanisation in India. Journal of the India International Centre, 43(34), 258 – 270.
  • 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.
  • 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​/​194631 book
  • Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (in process). Shades of Blue-Connecting the Drops in Indian Cities. Penguin Random House India.
  • Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2021). So Many Leaves! (in English, Hindi, Marathi, French and Italian). Pratham Books. 
  • Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (2019). Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities. Penguin Random House India

Edited Book

  • Nagendra, H., & Mundoli, S. (Eds.) .(in process). 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.

Chapter in edited Book

  • Mundioli, S., Dechamma, C. S., Auddy, M., Sanfui, A., & Nagendra, H. (Accepted) 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 (Accepted)
  • 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.

Illustrated Books

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

Newspaper Articles

Conference paper

  • 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.


  • 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.