Sai Balakrishnan is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor in International Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, and served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Columbia Law School’s Center on Global Legal Transformations. She has also worked as an urban planner in the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates, and as a consultant to the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi.

Through her research and teaching, Balakrishnan focuses on institutions for governing rapid urbanization, and on the spatial politics of land-use and property. Her work has been published in Pacific Affairs, Economic and Political Weekly, and in edited book chapters. Her book, titled "Shareholder Cities: Agrarian-Urban Land Commodification in Corridor Regions in Liberalizing India" is forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press.

Balakrishnan holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from MIT, a Master’s Degree in Urban Design from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Urban Planning from Harvard University. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the 2014 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Gill Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation on International Planning.