At the beginning of this event, Jessica Seddon will explore the ways in which our growing powers to sense the world around us, detect patterns and communicate findings can be harnessed to create new opportunities to build the social capital we need to address complex challenges including (but not limited to) environmental change. She will start with a close focus on the informational foundations for familiar contracts, regulatory and policy instruments, and other institutions that shape individual and social outcomes. These foundations are often taken for granted, an oversight that can limit and distort the impact of our efforts to steer social and environmental outcomes when the information required to operationalize a particular institution is missing or incomplete. After arguing for more critical attention to information as an enabler for governance, Jessica will then turn to the ways in which we might be able to build foundations for new forms of social capital–new networks of relationships between individuals that enable new social outcomes–through strategic investments in sensing, pattern detection and communication. Her argument for new approaches to investing in data is general, but in conclusion will illustrate what a data-for-social-capital agenda might look like in the context of governing our shared atmosphere to achieve climate and air quality goals.
Following this lecture, an interdisciplinary panel comprised of James Connolly (Community and Regional Planning), Nina Hewitt (Geography) and Alexandra Flynn (Law) will engage in a conversation with Jessica to discuss the implications of her talk, and how her ideas align with or diverge from their own research findings.
Tea and coffee will be available in the Piano Lounge at 4:30 pm.
Jessica Seddon is a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Jackson School of Global Affairs at Yale and Senior Fellow, Air Quality at the World Resources Institute. Her work on environmental governance focuses on how new sources of data can be leveraged to enable new (and more sustainable) ways of interacting with the environment around us. Her career in India and the U.S. spans academic, program leadership, and strategic advisory roles focused on institutional design for integrating science into policy and social initiatives. Dr. Seddon earned her PhD in Political Economy from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her BA from Harvard University.