Authors’ guidelines

Scope of the Journal

TRIALOG – A Journal for Planning and Building in a Global Context – is an international peer-reviewed journal attracting academic contributions and practitioners’ perspectives from the fields of architecture, urban and regional planning, geography, sociology, anthropology, and economics, and their many interfaces. TRIALOG is published on a quarterly basis by TRIALOG e.V., a registered non-profit association.

Submissions answering to a call for papers

Each issue of TRIALOG is organised by a different editorial team and contributions are collected through open calls for papers. The calls are announced via the TRIALOG website, newsletter and Facebook page, but can also be distributed via other mailing lists. Accordingly, authors are invited to submit their contributions and queries to the respective editorial teams mentioned in the calls for papers.

Authors are encouraged to submit their manuscript using our manuscript template in Word format. Please note, the template includes a title page, which must be uploaded separately, in order to keep the manuscript anonymous.

Other submissions and general queries

For general queries, submission of book reviews and unsolicited contributions; please contact the Coordinating Editor (

Manuscript formats

The accepted text formats may vary according to specific calls for papers. In general, they include

  • research articles,
  • perspectives,
  • TRIALOG showcase
  • and book reviews.

Research: Research articles are part of each special issue. They consist of original contributions featuring a specific topic related to urban planning and the built environment. Calls for papers for upcoming special issues are published regularly via TRIALOG information channels. Research articles should frame relevant research questions, clarify their theoretical/conceptual standpoint and methodology, summarize and discuss the results and draw conclusions. They are open to junior and senior academics as well as practitioners in the fields of urban and regional planning, architecture, sociology, geography, anthropology, urban economy as well as development cooperation. Contributions may include theoretical interventions, empirical analyses (incl. case studies and action-based research). They range between 4,000 and 5,000 words. The volume editors decide on the acceptance of research articles based on at least two double-blind peer reviews by colleagues with scientific expertise in the relevant field.

Perspectives: Perspectives are part of each special issue and offer space for more personalised points of view and experiences related to the issue topic. They feature knowledge production from outside academia and invite practitioners, activists, and scholars to go beyond the classic research article format and to share content outside the box. Zooming in on the work, experience, and positioning of a single stakeholder, possible formats may include interviews with key stakeholders, essayist viewpoints, narrative biographies of persons of interest, as well as personal experience reports from the field. Perspectives should not exceed 4,000 words. They will be reviewed by the volume editors.

TRIALOG Showcase: TRIALOG Showcase functions like a blackboard with the objective to foster the TRIALOG network as a platform for exchange among diverse stakeholders in urban planning and the built environment. It invites TRIALOG members to share short versions of interactive content about a specific urban project or research experience – at the intersection of print and online media. TRIALOG Showcase ideally comprises a brief written narrative to share insightful occurrences, experiences, and learning curves that TRIALOG members have experienced in empirical research or practice (such as tactical urbanism, project implementation, methodological innovations, inter alia). These can be presented either as textual or visual representations including short video clips (linked by QR codes) or pictorial narratives. Individual positions should not exceed 2,000 words (i.e. two print pages). Interviews or opposing opinions that are presented as antitheses should not exceed 3,000 words.

Book Reviews: For TRIALOG Reviews, we invite authors to write short reviews of recently published monographs and edited volumes within the general thematic scope of the association, or of special interest to the readership of TRIALOG. Twice a year, TRIALOG issues a call for book reviews via its information channels with a list of published work that could potentially be reviewed. Reviews of single books ideally range from 450 to 900 words. They are published as addenda to the quarterly special issues.

Journal copyediting style

Please prepare your manuscript following British spelling rules and using a word-processing package. Save in .doc, .docx or .rtf format and spell-check all files before submission.

TRIALOG follows the Oxford HUMSOC Style (Author-Date), which is available on Citavi and many other reference management systems. If an automatic referencing system has been used in the preparation of the paper, the references must not be left embedded in the final text file submitted. (Please also refer to our manuscript template and mini style checklist.)

Other helpful hints are: (i) use the ENTER key once to start a new a paragraph (please don’t add blank lines or indents). (ii) where possible use Times New Roman for the text font and Symbol for any Greek and special characters; (iii) use the word processing formatting features to indicate Bold, Italic , Greek, Maths, Superscript and Subscript characters; (iv) please avoid using underline: for emphasis use bold; (v) clearly identify unusual symbols and Greek letters; (vi) where there might be confusion, differentiate between the letter O and zero, and the letters I and l and the number 1.

Title page

Papers must be submitted with a separate title page containing the information specified below. This information should not appear on the manuscript itself, which should be anonymised for the purposes of peer review.

  • Article type.
  • Manuscript title.
  • Names and affiliations of all contributing authors. Please make sure that all names of the authors have the correct spelling and are arranged in in the order usual in Europe and America (first name, then family name). Occasionally, the distinction between surnames and forenames can be ambiguous, and this is to ensure that the authors’ full surnames and forenames are tagged correctly, for accurate indexing online.
  • Full address for corresponding author, including telephone and email address.
  • Funding Statement (see notes below).


The second page of the manuscript should contain the abstract, which must not exceed 250 words. It should provide readers with an initial overview of the research and its findings, and help them decide whether the article is relevant/interesting to him/her. Therefore, the abstract should be comprehensible to readers before they have read the paper, and reference citations must be avoided.

Section Headings

TRIALOG avoids numbered headings, and encourages authors to reduce the structure of their articles to two levels, with headlines of the main sections presented in bold letters and sub-headings in italics.


Short quotations should be incorporated into the text and are not indented. A single inverted comma should be used at the beginning and end of the quote. Quotations over 30 words in length should be indented from the left margin, and quotation marks for such quotes are not required.


Non-standard abbreviations should be defined at the first occurrence and introduced only where multiple use is made. Authors should not use abbreviations in headings.

Funding statement

Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled ‘Funding’. Authors should provide the full names of funding agencies, avoiding abbreviations, which might be unknown to our readers. Any conflicts of interest between the donor and the research subject need to be stated.


Acknowledgements and details of non-financial support should be included in the title page (see above) and not in footnotes.


Avoid over-referencing. TRIALOG aims to be a publication accessible to a range of audiences, both academic and practitioner. Use the author-date system for in-text citations (e.g. Dewar & Uytenbogaardt 1991: 17), and list references alphabetically at the end of the article in a bibliography (see below). Authors are asked to pay particular attention to the accuracy and correct presentation of references. The bibliography should only contain sources cited in the text. Full references should be provided in accordance with following style:

  • Journal article: Turner, J. F. C. (1968) ‘The Squatter Settlement: An Architecture that Works’, Architectural Design, 38/5: 355–60.
  • Book: Dewar, D. and Uytenbogaardt, R. S. (1991) South African Cities: A Manifesto for Change. Cape Town: Urban Problems Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Contribution in an edited volume: Harms, H. (1992). ‘Self-help Housing in Developed and Third World Countries’. In: K. Mathéy (ed.) Beyond Self-Help Housing, pp. 33–52. London: Mansell.
  • Website: The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) (2021) Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM): A pro poor land information tool, <> accessed 20 Mar 2021.


Footnotes should be kept as brief as possible and be numbered consecutively. They should not be used to indicate references, but only for additional information like the meaning of foreign words or cultural specifics that add more context to the presentation of research results.

Biographical note

Authors are requested to provide a short biographical note of 300 to 500 characters and a photograph (B/W). The biographical note should include as a minimum the author’s name and highest academic degree, (main) fields of study, current position and institutional affiliation, and an e-mail address for publication. Authors may add information about the project they are currently involved in. The editors may shorten biographical notes in order to adapt them to the layout of the journal. The authors’ photographs must be suitable for black and white printing and observe the general rules for illustrations (see next paragraph).

Figures and tables

Due to the nature of TRIALOG as an illustrated journal, all authors are invited to submit figures (photos, maps, diagrams) and tables to illuminate their arguments. Please avoid figures requiring colour printing, as the journal is predominantly printed in black-and-white. Please adapt the figures accordingly, e.g. by adjusting white balance and the legends of maps.

RIGHTS: The rights to reproduce figures and tables must be provided by the authors. Authors who wish to use figures and tables that they did not create themselves must obtain permission from the copyright holders (see copyright permission request form).

FIGURES must never be embedded in the Word document but be sent as separate files in .jpg or .tiff format, and with a proper indication in the filename (e.g. ‘[Author’s name] Figure 1’). Photos must be of the same size as foreseen for their publication and have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. If possible, maps and diagrams should be provided in the original version (e.g. as vector graphics); if not they must have the same resolution as photos. Please save figures without borders.

CAPTIONS: Please indicate in the text where each figure should be placed by using [insert Fig. 1 here]. At the end of the manuscript, following the References section, please provide a list of figures with captions of approximately 100 characters, indicating the content and source of each figure. If a choice of illustrations is available, a prioritisation should be given that distinguishes between figures that are necessary and others that are optional.

In tables, footnotes are preferable to long explanatory material in either the heading or body of the table. Such explanatory footnotes, identified by superscript letters, should be placed immediately below the table.

Depending on their size and format, tables can either be embedded in the Word document or provided as separate files in .xlsx, .jpg or .tiff format with adequate filenames (e.g. ‘[Author’s name] Table 2’). In the latter case, please follow the same rules as with the figures.

Book Reviews

Publishers submitting books for review should send them to the Coordinating Editor by email ( or to the postal address below.

Reviewers should follow the format and style indicated above, and include full publishing details of the books under review: author or editor, title, publisher, location, year, number of pages, ISBN number and price. Reviews of single books should not exceed 900 words. The journal prioritizes review essays of 2-5 books sharing a common theme. In this case, the length of the review will be negotiated with the Coordinating Editor based on the selection of books under review. The journal also considers reviews of documentary films and other media. All reviews are subject to editorial changes, and a final review by the author.

Postal address: TRIALOG e.V. c/o Dorcas Nthoki Nyamai (coordinating editor), TU Dortmund, August-Schmidt-Straße 8, 44227 Dortmund

Publication Ethics

Authors should observe high standards with respect to publication ethics. Plagiarism, including duplicate publication of the authors’ own work without proper citation, and misappropriation of the work are all unacceptable practices.


Authors will be asked to confirm that any necessary permissions have been obtained in writing from the copyright owners of any third party material included in the article.

It is the responsibility of the author to obtain written permission for a quotation from unpublished material, or for all quotations in excess of 250 words in one extract or 500 words in total from any work still in copyright, and for the reprinting of figures, tables or poems for unpublished or copyrighted material.

If text material (over 250 words) is to be reproduced from published sources, written permission is required from both publisher and author of the original material. For shorter quotations, it is usually sufficient to add a reference. If illustrations or figures are to be duplicated from previously published work, written permission must be obtained both from the publisher and the author, and a credit line giving the source added to the relevant Figure Legend. The letters containing the permission for the reproduction of either text or illustrations must accompany the typescript. If you have been unable to obtain permission, please indicate this.


TRIALOG e.V. is looking for original research for publication. Contributors will retain the copyright on their work. They will, however, be required to grant TRIALOG e.V. an exclusive license to publish the article in paper and electronic form. They, further, have to confirm that any necessary permissions have been obtained from the copyright owners of any third party material included in the article. In granting this exclusive licence, authors may use their own material in reworked form in other publications provided that the journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, and TRIALOG e.V. is notified in writing and in advance.

Upon receipt of accepted manuscripts at TRIALOG e.V. authors will be invited to complete a licence to publish form.

Please note that by submitting an article for publication you confirm that you are the corresponding/submitting author and that TRIALOG e.V. may retain your email address for the purpose of communicating with you about the article. You agree to notify TRIALOG e.V. immediately if your details change during the publishing process. If your article is accepted for publication, TRIALOG e.V. will contact you using the email address you have used in the registration process.


Authors are sent page proofs by email. These should be checked immediately and corrections, as well as answers to any queries, returned to the publishers as an annotated PDF via email within 3 working days (further details are supplied with the proof). It is the author’s responsibility to check proofs thoroughly and only essential corrections should be made at this stage.


Opinions expressed in articles and reviews in TRIALOG are the views of the authors and contributors, and not those of the Editors, the publishers or the editorial board.

Self-Archiving Policy

Authors of our journal are allowed to disseminate their articles in open archive repositories, personal and institutional websites but only post-print and provided that the published source is acknowledged and a link to our web-site is included. For this purpose, authors receive their own articles in the TRIALOG layout, including the cover, editorial, table of contents and imprint of the respective issue, in an electronic format.