The Meeting of the Minds Peer-to-Peer Publishing
Meeting of the Minds catalyzes the transition to sustainable, equitable cities through a unique peer-to-peer publishing platform at MeetingoftheMinds.org. Articles are written by urban practitioners and delivered to the inboxes of other urban practitioners — elected officials, CEOs, executive directors, heads of agencies, start-ups, academics, budget-holders, and decision makers.
Join our worldwide network by subscribing to our email list. And read on to learn how you can submit your own article for publication on MeetingoftheMinds.org.
Since historically marginalized communities are already being disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am frustrated to see these communities also negatively impacted by the lack of on-the-ground public engagement. While I realize the threat of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions make conducting on-the-ground public engagement challenging, I want to encourage fellow planners to think more creatively. I will admit that I struggled to think creatively when I first heard that Clackamas Community College (CCC) would continue having mostly online classes in Spring Term 2021. CCC has had mostly online classes since the end of Winter Term 2020 when COVID-19 first started impacting Oregon. CCC’s decision about Spring Term 2021 became more stressful when Clackamas County staff told me that public outreach for their new shuttles could not be delayed until next summer.
A new toolkit has been developed to help businesses think through strategies to decrease mobility barriers to the workplace, which reduces turnover. When workers can reliably get to work regardless of their personal circumstances, it provides employment stability and the opportunity to build wealth. It’s a win-win. Developed through a partnership between Metropolitan Planning Council and a pro bono Boston Consulting Group team, the toolkit includes slide decks, an overview report, customizable templates, a cost calculator, and instructional videos walking a company through the thought process of establishing a baseline situation, evaluating and selecting a solution, and standing up a program.
Depending on the employer’s location and employees’ needs, solutions may range from helping with last-mile transportation to the transit system, to developing on-demand vanpools, to establishing in-house carpool matching systems. The ROI calculator gives employers the ability to determine the break-even cost—the subsidy amount a company can manage without hurting the bottom line.
Housing that is affordable to low-income residents is often substandard and suffering from deferred maintenance, exposing residents to poor air quality and high energy bills. This situation can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health issues, and siphon scarce dollars from higher value items like more nutritious food, health care, or education. Providing safe, decent, affordable, and healthy housing is one way to address historic inequities in community investment. Engaging with affordable housing and other types of community benefit projects is an important first step toward fully integrating equity into the green building process. In creating a framework for going deeper on equity, our new book, the Blueprint for Affordable Housing (Island Press 2020), starts with the Convention on Human Rights and the fundamental right to housing.
Preferred Types of Content
There are two kinds of content that we prefer to publish – thought leadership and blueprint sharing.
At Meeting of the Minds, thought leadership is defined as fact-based, authoritative opinion that presents novel, innovative ideas meant to inspire, challenge, and influence the reader toward positive change in the sustainability and equity of cities.
In this type of content, you discuss a successful project that you personally worked on. What was the problem? How did you solve it? What do others need to know to use the same solution? The emphasis here is on sharing scalable, replicable, transferrable solutions to our cities greatest challenges.
“The Six Rules” for Meeting of the Minds Publishing
In order to pass editorial review, your submission must adhere to all six of the following rules.
- Submissions must be greater than 800 words, but less than 2,000.
- Absolutely no advertising copy or press-releases.*
- Articles should be exclusive to MeetingoftheMinds.org and not previously published online.
- Articles should be written in a non-academic, conversational tone.
- Include, whenever possible, bullet-point lists, short paragraphs, and the judicious use of bold and italics.
- Images, videos and hyperlinks are encouraged.
*Note that #2 is the rule broken most frequently. We understand, of course, that writing an article for MeetingoftheMinds.org is likely part of a larger marketing strategy for your organization, but overt sales pitches are inappropriate for the platform. Find a way to tell your story without the advertising.
Why Write for Meeting of the Minds?
Our publishing platform is exclusively written by busy professionals working in a fast-paced industry. We know that you have a lot on your calendar, and that committing to write for Meeting of the Minds is a big ask.
So why should you spend time on this?
Reach Influential Decision Makers
Our audience is a lot like you — working professionals interested in wonky, detailed descriptions of ideas and projects happening in the urban sustainability and smart cities industry. They are executive and senior level leaders interested in staying up-to-date with the newest innovations in the industry, and looking for the “big picture.”
In fact, a recent survey of our website audience showed that 80% of our readers are either executive level, senior level, or CEOs at their organizations. And the majority of them stated that their preferred method of engagement with Meeting of the Minds was reading articles online. You can see more results of that survey at this link.
Meeting of the Minds is an independent, non-profit knowledge-sharing platform partnered with trailblazing organizations in the public, private, academic, non-profit and philanthropic sectors. Our mission is to connect people and ideas working at the leading edge of urban sustainability, in order to catalyze positive change in cities worldwide.
There is a community of people looking to us to find and spotlight the trends and innovations happening in this space, and our website is your opportunity to present your thoughts to this community — backed by the validation of our platform.
When you sit down to write for Meeting of the Minds, the question you should be asking yourself is this: “What knowledge do I possess that can help advance the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of cities? What do I know that others don’t?”
The progress of environmental sustainability in cities is accelerated by the flow of information between people. And when you want to communicate this information to our audience, you are not alone. We have dedicated staff – especially our Managing Editor, Hannah Greinetz – to help you craft your message. From basic things, like fixing typos, to larger issues of tone and substance, we are here to help.
Your article will be emailed to more than 25,000+ people on our email list. It will be deployed on all of our social media channels, and re-deployed on our social media feeds at regular intervals for the next two years. Your article will be archived on all of the major search engines, and may even rank on the first page of search queries related to your topic.
We encourage you to amplify these efforts by sending your own social media posts, engaging in the article comments, and enlisting the help of your marketing team.
Ready to submit an article?
In order to submit your article to the Meeting of the Minds Editorial Team, you will need to use our Article Submission form. Click the “Submit an Article” button to begin.
The Meeting of the Minds audience is a smart and busy group of people. In order to get their attention the content you write has to be readable, valuable, and compelling.
What’s the best way to grab the attention of our audience? Here are some general tips.
Do not begin with an overview of urbanism
We know they world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. We know that the world’s population is moving to cities, and that, by 2050, over two-thirds (68%) of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Our audience arrives with this knowledge. Please do not start your submission with these, or similar, statistics.
Write a good headline
This is something our editing team will help you with, but you should think about it, too. We share our content through social media, newsletters, RSS feeds, and any other way we can. Most of the people that we’re able to reach in this way only see the headline, then click to read more. That means we need to come up with a very compelling headline.
Note: please keep headlines to 60 characters or less.
Give away secrets
Not proprietary information, of course, but you have to give the audience something of value. They are giving you their time, and they hope to be rewarded with information they haven’t heard before and can’t get anywhere else. So tell them a secret. Give them an insight that only you know. Break a paradigm. Challenge their thinking.
Write for screens, not for paper
Studies have shown that people’s reading habits are different when they read from a screen than when they read from a piece of paper. We can expect that no one will print out your article to read it, so we can expect that your audience will see your content on a screen. You should, then, tailor your writing to what works best on a screen.
There was a great article in Slate magazine years ago that explains this in more detail, but here is the gist of it:
- Write smaller paragraphs – on a screen, even 1 sentence can be a paragraph. Eye-tracking tests show that most people skip over large blocks of text when reading on screens.
- Use bullet-point lists – we’re doing it right now. Doesn’t this make it easier to read?
- Use bold, links and italics to emphasize content – of course you don’t want people to skim your article…but they inevitably will. Help them find the important parts by emphasizing them with formatting and links.
- Break your article up with explanatory subheaders – Sectionalize your article with subheaders that explain what each section is about.
- Write less – as we said above, you should keep your articles over 600 words, but under 2,000. Studies show that readers start to get restless after 1,000 words or so.
That will get your started. Remember that you’re not on your own with this, our editing team will help you shape your article to fit our audience and our guidelines. We’ll work together to make sure your voice is heard in the Meeting of the Minds network.
Reposting your article
The copyright and ownership of your article remains with you when you publish on MeetingoftheMinds.org. That means that you are welcome to repost your article on your website or other websites. However, we ask that you wait 7 days before reposting, and include the following text at the top of the article:
This article originally appeared on MeetingoftheMinds.org.