Cities & Health is a journal dedicated both to crossing boundaries, be they disciplinary, geographic or professional, and also to stimulating the growth of a new body of practice.
We especially welcome co-designed and co-produced research, particularly when jointly coordinated between academic and non-academic partners.
Graphic illustrations and visual content are encouraged through the use, as appropriate, of diagrams, logic models, annotated plans, maps, figures, tables and photos. There are also specific image-based contribution types, see below for details.
If you would like to contribute editorial material, and we welcome suggestions, please discuss with the Editor-in-Chief.
All original scholarship articles will be double-blind reviewed by default.
We are inviting submissions of the following types of contribution:
Empirical, methodological and conceptual papers, plus evidence reviews. Articles will normally be between 4,000 and 8,000 words (exclusive of references).
Empirical: Analysis of new or existing qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods data against one or more research questions. Rationale, methods, findings and conclusions discussed with limitations and we want to hear about potential real-world significance.
Methodological: Critique of existing research methods or presentation of new methods, especially methods that display innovation or advances in transdisciplinarity and/or cross sector collaboration.
Conceptual: New theory, conjecture or debate with the purpose of generating insight, new research themes and/or new practice in towns and cities. Agenda setting commentary is especially welcome.
Evidence reviews: Reviews of evidence, case studies, methods or policy with conclusions that will provide a steer for policy, practice or research. A wide range of methodologies is acceptable including as realist, umbrella, rapid, novel or systematic. In all cases the reasoning behind the choice of method should be made clear.
‘City Know-how‘ is a special journal feature. Authors of all original scholarship submissions are required to complete a ‘City Know-how‘ form. This allows a short summary of your paper to be published. These specifically to illustrate how your findings are relevant for named non-academic audiences, e.g., practitioner communities, or to inform actors, policy-makers and decision-makers at city, national or international levels.
Reflections from research, practice and design
In this special section of the Journal, we want to hear your reflections from experience. This may be about a whole field of enquiry or a specific experience. The focus may be from research, policy development, practice or any aspect of healthy placemaking and design. We don’t want a paper about the research or project itself. The focus is on how others, in your sectors and other areas critical for creating cities that support human health and well-being, can benefit from your experiences. What were the ‘highs’ and the ‘lows’ of the project, what lessons should the field learn from this? How can this be taken further? Are there implications for educators working across disciplinary boundaries? Is there the potential for a new field of research or area of practice?
If you want to submit a paper to this section, we strongly recommend you first read: Marcus Grant & Susan Thompson (2018) Reflective Praxis: accelerating knowledge generation through reflecting on our research and practice, Cities & Health, 2:2, 91-95,
This section of the Journal provides opportunities for:
Conjecture: Those of us who are involved or interested in this field can bring forward thoughts about issues we all need to consider, reflect upon and take further. What new knowledge is arising? How do we stimulate deeper thought? How might the field develop?
Communication: Researchers are encouraged to communicate with the policy and design communities; those involved in implementation and practice are encouraged to share their reflections and learnings with researchers and the academic community more broadly. What are the lessons for others? How do we create a shared wisdom?
Collaboration: Reaching across research-policy-implementation gaps; researchers and practitioners are encouraged to reflect on their experiences translating research evidence and practice wisdom into policy, legislation and design for healthy cities. What has worked and why? How do we overcome the stumbling blocks?
We encourage reflection thorough positing tentative and emerging thoughts. As such it is hoped that this section will support the production of knowledge that occurs outside the more usual cycle of funding, implementation and often constrained protocols of academic dissemination.
To widen the opportunity for contributions, we are looking for two types of submissions.
Reflective Praxis – Major articles: These must be written in the first person, logically organised and clearly set out, with appropriate referencing. The emphasis of the writing should be a reflection on the work; your personal experiences and lessons. The work in focus can be research, implementation, design development or policy-making. The writing should not report on the work itself, other than to set the scene for the authors’ reflections so that the reader understands the research / practice context – this is especially important in an international journal where jurisdictions differ, as do practice protocols and histories. These will be treated in a similar way to full conceptual research papers in terms of length and review, normally be between 4,000 and 8,000 words (exclusive of references).
Reflective Praxis – Think-pieces: We welcome short reflective articles based on experiences from research, policy-making, design development and project implementation. We would like to receive submissions about intended research, initial working protocols and emerging research methodologies and approaches to stimulate debate. As opinion-led articles, the submission should be evidence-based and referenced appropriately. These must be written in the first person, logically organised with only light referencing. The guideline is for 500 – 3,000 words (exclusive of references).
Case studies/ Case reports
Descriptive case studies of implementations will be accepted (NB. if you have one or more study areas with empirical data – please submit as ‘original scholarship – empirical’). However, these must include critical analysis, reflective comments and describe the limitations to applicability or implementation in other situations. These can be at any scale from city-region or town/city to a proposed area development, street or estate design. For a case study, we require some form of metrics or evaluation. For example, baseline measured against the changes sought or anticipated, or an evaluation of outcomes. We assume that for case studies these will often be third-party statistics, and not empirically collected by the author(s); see note above about ‘original scholarship – empirical’. The guideline is for 3,000 words maximum. A location plan plus other plans, sketches, maps or photos are required.
This is for descriptive articles of specific design or policy interventions in a named city or town. Authorship is encouraged to be from, or in association with, a municipality or place-based NGO or community. Topics may include interventions for ‘healthy’ places, public health policy innovation, urban planning/design policy and practice, city-based conjecture, research protocol for a specific town or city-level study, development project. We also encourage relevant city or city-network news. Visual content is encouraged; this can be photographs, drawings, plans or diagrams. Readers of city shorts would also welcome pointers to where they can find further information about what is being discussed. The guideline is for 3,000 words maximum.
Commentary and debate
Short contributions from 500 to 3,000 words on a field of enquiry, a topical issue, a viewpoint or response to a paper are welcome. Where a submission is opinion-led the article should be evidence-informed and appropriately referenced.
Academic journals are often word-heavy and, thus, ‘tell’ rather than ‘show.’ Images such as photographs, urban design drawings, diagrams, and layout or schematic plans can help show the essence of phenomena, issues of interest, and invite readers to consider information in a new light. Our visually based submissions will bring images to the fore and give them prominence over written context. The suggested maximum number of words is 2,000 for a simple visual report to 4,000 words for, say, a research-based travelogue; please contact the Editor-in-Chief if a greater word count is needed. These submissions will be reviewed by members of the editorial team.
Travelogues and Study Visits: We often think and learn in different ways when we are immersed in an unfamiliar place. In a globalising world, traveling to cities and within cities is becoming more prominent in our lives and in knowledge creation on urban health. How can we bring travel into research and practice? How might the experience of travel contribute to health equity and social justice in cities? Cities & Health welcomes travelogue submissions which bring travel to the fore in research and practice, and whereby authors convey their own learning to others and draw out lessons and questions that may be applicable elsewhere. A travelogue can either be a preliminary report – such as a study visit or a field trip to a city – or an empirical study with data collection and analysis. The journal welcomes travelogue submissions in a diversity of formats, and you are encouraged to be creative and innovative in your approach.
Thematic visual essays: We invite submissions of a compilation of 6-12 images accompanied by text, as a short academic-style essay. This can be narrative, poetic/evocative, or analytic in form (empirical data are not required), or a mixture of these, linked to the theme(s) of the images. The narrative should engage with the images as a source of information rather than only for illustrative purposes: think about what each photo or illustration communicates about your topic or in a new way that text alone could not. Please note that a visual essay involving travel might be better suited to the ‘travelogue’ article category (see above).
Layout plans: We invite submissions of a series of 6-12 images accompanied by text as a short academic-style essay. These follow the same format as visual essays but focus more on urban planning and design and spatial life in cities (e.g., infrastructure, buildings, public spaces, transportation, technology-driven innovation) with health and sustainability at the core. Visual material can include physical layout plans, design sketches, planning models, and geographical mapping, for example. Submissions are welcome from researchers, city planners, design organisations, policy makers, and professionals in cognate areas. The journal is particularly keen on collaborative submissions linking the community, urban planners, and health researchers in knowledge exchange.
Short reviews and Book reviews
Reviews of conferences, workshops, panels, exhibitions and books are welcome. 500-1,500 words, depending on the subject matter. These will be reviewed by members of the editorial team. These may be commissioned by the editorial team, but suggestions are always welcome.
If what you want to submit doesn’t neatly fall into one of the above categories, or if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can advise, but it is up to the author to select and submit to the category in order to achieve the best match for reviewers.
Marcus Grant, Editor-in-Chief (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Caroline Brown, Senior Editor (C.J.Brown@hw.ac.uk)
28 March 2023