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.
Accenture analysts recently released a report calling for cities to take the lead in creating coordinated, “orchestrated” mobility ecosystems. Limiting shared services to routes that connect people with mass transit would be one way to deploy human-driven services now and to prepare for driverless service in the future. Services and schedules can be linked at the backend, and operators can, for example, automatically send more shared vehicles to a train station when the train has more passengers than usual, or tell the shared vehicles to wait for a train that is running late.
Managing urban congestion and mobility comes down to the matter of managing space. Cities are characterized by defined and restricted residential, commercial, and transportation spaces. Private autos are the most inefficient use of transportation space, and mass transit represents the most efficient use of transportation space. Getting more people out of private cars, and into shared feeder routes to and from mass transit modes is the most promising way to reduce auto traffic. Computer models show that it can be done, and we don’t need autonomous vehicles to realize the benefits of shared mobility.
The role of government, and the planning community, is perhaps to facilitate these kinds of partnerships and make it easier for serendipity to occur. While many cities mandate a portion of the development budget toward art, this will not necessarily result in an ongoing benefit to the arts community as in most cases the budget is used for public art projects versus creating opportunities for cultural programming.
Rather than relying solely on this mandate, planners might want to consider educating developers with examples and case studies about the myriad ways that artists can participate in the development process. Likewise, outreach and education for the arts community about what role they can play in projects may stimulate a dialogue that can yield great results. In this sense, the planning community can be an invaluable translator in helping all parties to discover a richer, more inspiring, common language.
While the outlook for the environment may often seem bleak, there are many proven methods already available for cities to make their energy systems and other infrastructure not only more sustainable, but cheaper and more resilient at the same time. This confluence of benefits will drive investments in clean, efficient energy, transportation, and water infrastructure that will enable cities to realize their sustainability goals.
Given that many of the policy mechanisms that impact cities’ ability to boost sustainability are implemented at the state or federal level, municipalities should look to their own operations to implement change. Cities can lead as a major market player, for example, by converting their own fleets to zero emission electric vehicles, investing in more robust and efficient water facilities, procuring clean power, and requiring municipal buildings to be LEED certified.
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.
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.
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.