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Community and Regional Planning Faculty and Staff

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Program Director

Administrative 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

GeoGames for urban planning | Serious games for civic engagement

  • Poplin, A., Kerkhove, T., Reasoner, M. and A. Roy. 2017. (accepted). Urban planning games: Enriching civic engagement?, book chapter for 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)).

  • Poplin, A. and K. Vemuri. 2017. (accepted). YouPlaceIt!: Spatial Game for Building a Consensus, book chapter, to be published in the book titled Geogames and Geoplay - Game-based Approaches to the Analysis of Geo-Information, Editors: Ola Ahlqvist and Christoph Schlieder, to be published in 2017

  • 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.

User experience with interactive maps | GeoVisualization

  • Lewis, B., W. Guan, and A. Poplin. 2017. (accepted). 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, pp. (pending).

  • 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.

Smart and Happy Cites, Smart Communities & Big Data

  • 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.

  • Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Devisch, O. and G. de Roo (Editors). 2017. The Virtual And The Real: Perspectives, Practices and Applications For The Built Environment, edited book submitted for publication to Routledge, October 2017.

  • 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.