Planning Magazine Contributor Guidelines
Planning is published 10 times a year by the American Planning Association. It offers news and analyses of events in planning (including suburban, rural, and small town planning, environmental planning, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, social planning, and urban design).
If you have an idea for a story, don’t send a completed manuscript. Instead, send an e-mail or letter briefly describing what you have in mind, why the topic is important, and how it is relevant to our audience. Say something about the sources of your information (personal involvement? interviews?) and about your present position and background. If you are a planner, say something about your writing experience. If you are primarily a writer, tell us if you have had exposure to planning. Tell us what types of photographs and graphics are available to illustrate your story. Be sure to include an address and a daytime phone number.
Types of Stories
Planning runs full-length feature articles (including case studies and trends), short stories about newsworthy events, book reviews, news about APA activities, viewpoint essays, letters, and news of projects that are in the works.
Longer, academic articles based on original research should be sent to the Journal of the American Planning Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News of events in the field (including news about planning programs) is reported each month in Planning's news section. Some news stories are contributed; however, most are staffwritten, based on interviews and material supplied by planners. A timely news angle is most important. News stories typically are under 500 words.
Articles for Planning should be on a topic of significant interest to the field. Although features also may have a news angle, their greater length allows more in-depth exploration of the issues raised by a particular event.
Features include case studies of particular places or planning programs, stories analyzing trends, profiles of notable planners, evaluations of planning programs, and descriptions of planning practice and techniques. Stories comparing two or more techniques or programs are encouraged. A typical feature story is 2,500 words.
Books chosen for review in Planning include new works by major figures in the profession, how-to books, and case studies. Unsolicited reviews are used infrequently. Individual reviews run from 500 to 700 words; several reviews appear each month.
Planning tries to maintain a straightforward, nontechnical style. Every story should make clear, near the beginning, why the topic is of interest at this time. The facts of the case should be presented with a minimum of elaboration. Only essential background details should be included. (An exception is the "Planning Practice" feature in each issue, where details of a noteworthy case study or planning technique are discussed at length.) The primary focus should be on how a program has worked, special techniques used, and solutions to problems encountered. Stories about planning achievements should include information about their political and economic context.
Accuracy is vital. All facts should be double-checked before a manuscript is submitted.
Each manuscript should be accompanied by a list of resources on the topic at hand: relevant books and reports, conferences, and contact people and their phone numbers.
To settle points of style, Planning's editors use The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press). A good, basic writing guide is The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White.
Planning uses a variety of photographs, line art, charts, and maps.
We prefer to receive artwork electronically, and all illustrations should include credit and caption information.
Get full details by downloading our art guidelines for the magazine.
Planning generally does not pay for articles by practicing planners, attorneys, or university faculty members. For others, fees are worked out individually; they usually range from $100 to $1,000 for articles, depending on length, and $50 to $300 for photographs and drawings.