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Community and Regional Planning Faculty and Staff

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Program Director


Office Support Staff

Academic Advisor

Graduate Coordinator



Assistant Professor

Alenka Poplin

Assistant Professor, Community and Regional Planning

Mailing Address

Community and Regional Planning Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011

Contact Information

Phone: (515) 294-8097
Office: 487 Design


  • PhD in Geoinformation Science, Institute for Geoinformation and Cartography, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA
  • MSc Surveying and Spatial Planning Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying, Technical University of Ljubljana, Slovenia          

Supporting Files

Research Interests

Serious GeoGames for civic engagement in urban planning

  • Poplin, A. 2019. Big Data and Occupants Behavior in a Built Environment: Introducing a Game-Based Data Collection Method, Journal of Urban Planning and Development (JUPD), Special Issue on Data Science & the Built Environment. accepted for publication in May 2019.
  • Poplin, A. 2018. GeoGames: Games for Change – Designing for Future Communities, translated to Portuguese, Geografía y Sistemas de Información Geográfica (GEOSIG), Special Issue on Geodesign, Section I, p. 150-166.
  • Poplin, A., Kerkhove, T., Reasoner, M., Roy, A, and N. Brown. 2018. Serious GeoGames for civic engagement in urban planning: discussion based on four game prototypes, book chapter in the book titled The Virtual And The Real: Perspectives, Practices and Applications For The Built Environment (Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Devisch, O. and G. de Roo (Editors)), p. 189 – 213, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York.
  • Poplin, A. and K. Vemuri. 2018. Spatial Game for Negotiations and Consensus Building in Urban Planning: YouPlaceIt!, book chapter in the book titled Geogames and Geoplay - Game-based Approaches to the Analysis of Geo-Information, Editors: O. Ahlqvist and C. Schlieder, p. 63 – 90, Advances in Geographic Information Science, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
  •  Devisch, O., Poplin, A. and S. Sofronie. 2016. The Gamification of Civic Participation. Two experiments in improving the skills of citizens to reflect collectively on spatial issues, Journal of Urban Technology, Volume 23, Issue 2, p. 81-102.
  • Poplin, A. 2014. Digital serious game for urban planning: B3 – Design your Marketplace!, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Volume 41 (3), p. 493-511.
  • Poplin, A. 2012. Playful public participation in urban planning: A case study for online serious games, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS), Elsevier, Volume 36, Issue 3, May 2012, p. 195-206.

Smart and Happy Cites, Smart Communities & Big Data

  • Poplin, A. 2019 (forthcoming). Energy geogame e-footprints: prototype designed to collect data about human behavior in built environments, book chapter, submitted and accepted for publication, Book title: Rutledge Companion for Games and Architecture and Urban Planning: Tools for design, teaching and research. Editors: Marta Brković Dodig and Linda Groat, Taylor&Francis/Routledge.
  • Poplin, A. 2019 (forthcoming). Exploring Evocative Places and their Characteristics, The Cartographic Journal. accepted for publication in August 2019.
  • Poplin, A. 2018. Cartographies of Fuzziness: Mapping Places and Emotions, The Cartographic Journal, Volume 54, Issue 4, p. 291-300.
  • Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Devisch, O. and G. de Roo. 2018. The Virtual And The Real: Perspectives, Practices and Applications For The Built Environment, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York.
  • Poplin, A., Shenk, L. and U. Passe. 2017. Transforming Pervasive into Collaborative: Engaging Youth as Leaders with GIS through a Framework that Integrates Technologies, Storytelling, and Action, Journal of Interaction Design & Architecture, Special issue on Pervasive Participation – New Horizons for Citizen Involvement and User Experience, Volume 35, p. 182-204.
  • Poplin, A. 2017. Mapping Expressed Emotions: Empirical Experiments on Power Places, Special issue: Methods and Applications of  Empirical Cartography, Journal of Cartography and Geographic Information, Vol. 2, p. 83-91.
  • Poplin, A., Yamu, C. and L. Rico-Gutierrez. 2017. Place-making: an approach to rationale behind the location choice of power places. University campus Ames as a case study, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, XLII-4/W3, 73-81,, 2017.
  • Poplin, A., Shenk, L., Krejci, C. and U. Passe. 2017. Engaging youth through spatial socio-technical storytelling, participatory GIS, agent-based modelling, online geogames and action projects, ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., IV-4/W3, 55-62,, 2017.
  • Passe, U., Anderson, N., De Brabanter, K., Dorneich, M., Krejci, C., Poplin, A. and L. Shenk. 2016. Methodologies for Studying Human-Microclimate Interactions for Resilient, Smart City Decision-Making, in: Proceedings of PLEA2016 Los Angeles - Cities, Buildings, People: Towards Regenerative Environments, 11-13 July, 2016, Los Angeles, USA.
  • I am one of the project partners in a project funded by ISU Presidential research initiative that promotes big thinking in data-driven science ( The project:  Data-driven decision making for sustainable cities: a three-year, $375,000 project led by Ulrike Passe, associate professor of architecture and director of the Center for Building Energy Research. This project also won a one-year, $50,000 planning grant during the second round of presidential research awards. Researchers will use data about living in urban areas to develop new methods to help cities make data-driven policy decisions that are sustainable and meet residents' needs. My team focuses on creating and testing an online game-based simulation tool which may help to collect data about human behavior related to built environment and energy consumption and saving.

User experience with interactive maps | GeoVisualization

  • Lewis, B., W. Guan, and A. Poplin. 2017. Evaluating the Current State of Geospatial Software as a Service Platforms: A Comparison Study, in Leitner M. and J. Jokar Arsanjani (eds): Citizen Empowered Mapping, Springer, p. 53-84.
  • Poplin, A., Guan, W. and B. Lewis. 2016. Online Survey of Heterogeneous Users and Their Usage of the Interactive Mapping Platform WorldMap, The Cartographic Journal. Published online, Sept 19/2016.
  • Guan, W., Poplin, A. and B. Lewis. 2015. Understanding today’s online GIS user through the lens of a WorldMap survey, Transactions in GIS, Volume 19, Issue 3, p. 417–438.
  • Poplin, A. 2015. How User-Friendly are Online Interactive Maps? Survey Based on Experiments with Heterogeneous Users, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Volume 42, Issue 4, p. 358-376.
  • Poplin, A. 2012. Web-based PPGIS for Wilhelmsburg, Germany: an Integration of Interactive GIS-based Maps with an Online Questionnaire, Special Issue of the Journal of Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 71-84.

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