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Seema D. Iyer, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the Jacob France Institute and Research Assistant Professor

Department of Finance and Economics
Office: Business Center 363
Phone: 410.837.5797


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • M.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • Study Abroad, Moscow Energy Institute
  • Bio

    Seema D. Iyer, PhD is Director of the Real Estate and Economic Development (REED) program in the Merrick School of Business (MSB). She also is associate director for the Jacob France Institute (JFI) — MSB’s economic research center. She oversees the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at JFI which collects, integrates and disseminates community-based quality of life indicators. BNIA-JFI annually produces the City's Vital Signs report that "takes the pulse" of what's going on in Baltimore's neighborhoods. She is a recognized expert on data issues and strategic planning for communities having most recently worked on the McElderry Park Byrne Criminal Justice planning grant, Community Needs Assessment for the Family League of Baltimore and Baltimore City Head Start. Prior to joining UB, Iyer was chief of research and strategic planning for the Baltimore City Department of Planning and 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 2008, she managed the city's planning grant to develop the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. 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. She is a 2017 Fulbright-Nehru Fellow in Bangalore India.

  • Research Interests

    Her research focuses on the role of data in supporting collaborative, well-informed decision-making for community development. Other areas include the impact of development review on real estate development and energy efficiency measures on housing policy.

  • Teaching Interests

    Dr. Iyer teaches Real Estate Principles and Introduction to Economic Development

  • Recent Publications

    Intellectual Contributions

    Book Chapters

    Iyer, S. (2015). Barriers to Data Sharing for Inclusive Knowledge Management: Why WatershedStat in the City of Baltimore Failed. M.E. Sharpe Press. pp 91-109.


    Cantora, A., Iyer, S., & Restivo, L. (2015). Understanding drivers of crime in East Baltimore: Resident perceptions of why crime persists. American Journal of Criminal Justice.

    Written Case



    Iyer, S. Merrick School Accounting/Finance Research Seminars, "Tipping Points in Neighborhood Real Estate Markets," (2016).

    Cantora, A., Iyer, S., & . Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, "“You Can’t Stop Crime Here”: Understanding Local Crime Problems in East Baltimore.," Orlando, Florida. (2015).

    Cantora, A., Iyer, S., & Restivo, L. Academy of Criminal Justice Science Conference, "Conducting Focus Groups to Understand Drivers of Urban Crime," Philadelphia, PA. (2014).

    Contracts, Grants and Sponsored Research

    Iyer, Seema , "Our Town: Baltimore Arts & Cultural Mapping Project" Sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts, Federal, (2016).

    Iyer, Seema (Principal), "Baltimore Pipeline" Sponsored by Association of Builders and Contractors--Baltimore, Local, $24000. (2014 - 2016).

    Media Contributions

    Baltimore Sun: "Fighting for the Red Line" (Op-Ed) (2015).

    Research in Progress

    "Connecting People to Place" (Writing Results)