Anjali Mahendra is the Acting Director of Research at the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She leads the research agenda, guiding our worldwide team in conducting policy-relevant, innovative, and interdisciplinary research across all program areas of the Ross Center. She advises staff on research design and data collection methods, ensuring the production of high quality knowledge products and robust evidence to guide WRI’s engagements in cities.
Anjali is currently co-leading development of the World Resources Report on Sustainable Cities, a flagship WRI publication, working with thought leaders from around the world. Her own research focuses on how rapidly growing cities in the global south can manage urban expansion in a way that ensures equitable access to core services, and more resource-efficient economic and environmental outcomes. This research brings together multiple datasets on cities to establish the key trends, drivers, and potential solutions to the challenges of urban expansion.
As a recognized transportation expert, Anjali has taught graduate level courses in transportation policy and authored several publications on urban transportation and land use policies, their public health impacts, their regional economic development and equity impacts, and methodologies to estimate their impact on emissions.
Prior to WRI, Anjali led projects for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Transportation Research Board, U.S. state and local agencies, and international organizations as a senior consultant at ICF International. She is passionate about connecting research with practice and has worked in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and India, for organizations including the World Bank, Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, TU Delft in the Netherlands, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Anjali holds a Master’s degree in City Planning, a Master of Science in Transportation, and Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India.
She enjoys documentaries, cooking, travel, and spending active time outdoors with her family. She lives with her husband and two sons in Cary, North Carolina.