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Architecture Faculty and Staff

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Administrative Staff

Academic Advisor

Graduate Coordinator




Kimberly Elman Zarecor PhD

Professor, Architecture

Mailing Address

Architecture Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011

Contact Information

Phone: (515) 294-5026
Office: 587 Design


PhD, Architecture, Columbia University, 2008  
MArch, Columbia University, 1999
BA, Art History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1996

On the Web

Supporting Files

Research Interests

In her architectural history research, Professor Zarecor considers the historical and contemporary architecture in the former Czechoslovakia. Her 2011 book with University of Pittsburgh Press, Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960, focuses on the intersection of architects, housing design, and the state apparatus in the early years of Communist Party rule. It follows the development and deployment of standardized mass-housing types such as the prefabricated structural panel building and examines the relationship between communism and architecture. It was awarded an honorable mention by the Czechoslovak Studies Association for the 2011-2012 Book Prize and was an official selection for the Book Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Academia Press published a Czech translation of the book in February 2015 in the series, Šťastné zítřky.

An on-going project considers the postwar development of Ostrava, a Czech industrial city with a coal and steel industry dating back to the early nineteenth-century. She was a Faculty Fulbright Research Fellow in the Czech Republic in 2011-2012 and a 2013 Erasmus Mundus Fellow in support of this research. In addition to her book, she has published a number of journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and other texts. A full list of publications can be found on her CV. ISU Digital Repository:

In September 2017, she started as the Principal Investigator on a new NSF-funded project about rural Iowa communities that was inspired by her research on Ostrava as a shrinking post-industrial city. Looking at small and shrinking rural communities in Iowa, the research team is studying 7 Iowa towns that are shrinking, while also protecting quality of life for the current residents. Using the concept of 'shrink-smart' from European work on this phenomenon in large cities, the research breaks new ground by asking what smart shrinkage looks like in rural places and how towns can make good decisions about their future even as they lose population. Project website:

ORCID research profile:

Current Projects


"Architecture in Series: Housing and Communist Idealism." In The Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures. A. Skrodzka, X. Lu, and K. Marciniak, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190885533.013.2.

Passe, Ulrike, Janette Thompson, and Kimberly Zarecor, eds. 2020. SUS-RURI: Proceedings of a workshop on developing a convergence sustainable urban systems agenda for redesigning the urban-rural interface along the Mississippi River watershed held in Ames, Iowa, August 12–13, 2019. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Digital Press.

"Smart Shrinkage in Small Towns: Understanding Why Some Rural Communities Thrive as They Lose Population in The Midwestern United States." Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 64. (November 2018): 39-49. Co-authors: D. Peters, S. Hamideh, K. Zarecor, M. Ghandour.

"The Collective House in Litvínov," "The Collective House in Zlín," & "The Collective House in Czechoslovak Architectural Culture during and after World War II." (in Czech) In To Live Together: Collective Houses in Czechoslovakia and Europe in the 20th Century. Hubert Guzik, ed. Prague: Arbor Vitae, 2019.

"Hannes Meyer's Legacy in the Czechoslovak Postwar Building Industry” (in German). In Hannes Meyer und das Bauhaus. Im Streit der Deutungen. Thomas Flierl and Philipp Oswalt, eds. Leipzig: Spector Books, 2018.

"What Was So Socialist about the Socialist City?: Second World Urbanity in Europe," Journal of Urban History,, first published 5 June 2017.


"Rural Smart Shrinkage and Perceptions of Quality of Life in the Midwest" in Handbook of Quality of Life and Sustainability, Socio-spatial and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Springer International Handbooks of Quality of Life, in press. Co-authors: K. Zarecor, D. Peters, S. Hamideh.

"Prague" in Capital Cities in the Shadow of the Cold War: Planning in Eastern Europe. Emily Makaš, ed. London: Routledge, expected 2021.


NSF, Smart & Connected Communities Planning Grant, $100,000 (PI) - "A Data-Driven Framework for Smart Decision-Making in Small and Shrinking Communities" (


NPR's Here and Now, Interview with Jeremy Hobson about smart shrinkage (12 Dec 2019):

Podcast: The Shrink Smart Project – Managing Population Loss in Rural Communities (7 Sept 2018):

National Public Radio story about rural smart shrinkage (20 June 2018):

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