L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Shruti Syal

Assistant Professor

Email: syals@vcu.edu


  • Social-Ecological Systems (SES)
  • Urban informality, Urban ecology, Water and Waste Management
  • Mixed Methods Research

Shruti Syal is an Assistant Professor at the Wilder School of Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a BSc in Biology from McGill University, a MSc in Environmental Studies from The Energy & Resources Institute, and a PhD in Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She studies cities as integrated human-environment systems, focusing on water and waste dynamics, infrastructure, institutions, and “informality”. Her dissertation established environmental remediation of the river Yamuna and “slum” upgradation in Delhi as interdependent goals, challenging the dichotomies that plague planning practice in Indian cities, and received the ACSP Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation in International Planning (2019). She is currently setting up two research projects: one exploring how to couple decentralized infrastructure and environment planning agendas to 'slum' upgradation in rapidly urbanizing megacities, and another exploring the development and implementation of a conceptual framework that highlights the Vulnerability-Resilience connection by drawing on three bodies of research: hazards, socioeconomic vulnerability, and Complex Adaptive Systems.