PAS QuickNotes Contributor Guidelines

PAS QuickNotes (QN) is an online series of briefing papers on planning fundamentals that can be forwarded electronically to target audiences or printed and handed out at public and community outreach meetings.


QN authors should always keep the publication's principal audience in mind. The intended audience for QN includes:

  • Public officials, such as planning board or commission members, the mayor and mayor's office staff, city council members, and members of other boards and commissions in the jurisdiction.
  • Engaged citizens, including members of neighborhood associations, NGOs, community development corporations, the local business community, and other community interest groups. While entry level planners might consider QN content to be helpful, the publication's principal audience is generally not professional planners.


APA is interested in identifying new topics for future editions of QN. For a list of topics that have already been covered by QN see the archive.

Article Guidelines

APA retains copyright to all PAS QuickNotes articles.

Authors shall submit articles via e-mail as a Word (.doc or .docx) document. Length of articles should not exceed 1,200 words. Drafts exceeding 1,200 words will be returned to the author for editing down to the maximum length.

Articles typically follow this format:

  • An introductory section, providing definitions and describing why the concept or topic is important for public officials and engaged citizens
  • A general discussion of the topic, with items such as key issues, specific examples, and sample policies or codes
  • A concluding paragraph

In writing a piece for QN, authors should be mindful that readers will be from a wide variety of community types — urban, suburban, exurban, large, small, progressive, conservative, and all parts of the country.

Each issue includes a single photo or illustration, as appropriate, and a brief reference list in a side bar.

QuickNotes Proposals

The editor of PAS QuickNotes welcomes proposals. All proposals should include three paragraphs:

  1. Overview of the topic and how it relates to the planning profession.
  2. Explanation of the topic and how it fits with the scope of QuickNotes and its primary audience.
  3. Why it is important for the primary audience to know more about the topic.

Additionally, proposals should be accompanied by a one-page writing sample. Once a proposal is accepted, the author will sign an agreement to prepare a manuscript for publication. The editor will notify the author of the article's outline and draft manuscript deadlines.

Typically, an outline is due four months and the draft manuscript two months before the publication date. The author will also sign a copyright form for the article and any images. PAS QuickNotes is released the first week of alternating months, beginning with February, six times a year.

To submit a proposal for PAS QuickNotes, contact the editor at


The following formatting requirements are necessary to follow, so that the website editor can ensure that your text displays properly and will not need to be reformatted:

  • Do not tab indent paragraphs.
  • Use two hard returns after each paragraph.
  • Do not use underlining.
  • You may use bold and italics.


In addition to text, each article will include a single photo or illustration, as appropriate, to support the content. Authors must provide captions and credit information for each piece of artwork. The author must identify the source for each piece of artwork submitted. APA requires that the author obtain full rights to use the art for the article. The copyright for the art will then be transferred to APA as a nonexclusive right for use in PAS QuickNotes.

Authors must submit artwork electronically in graphic file format (i.e., .bmp, .jpg, .png, or .gif). All images must be high resolution (at least 300 dpi). Do not embed graphics into the Word file. All graphics must be submitted individually.


Resources should include any planning documents, reports, and related websites or other documents providing further information on the subject to the reader. The article will include three to four references in a sidebar. QN does not use footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations to cite references.