Submissions are now open for our Spring 2024 issue, “Permeabilities”!

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The Urban Review welcomes submissions on topics broadly related to urban studies, planning theory, and planning practice. Submissions can be personal reflections, research-based writing, material adapted from other work, etc. We are especially interested in pieces that are grounded in a particular location. 

When a thunderstorm crackles and the sky opens, rain sinks into fields and gardens while it gushes down asphalt streets and parking lots. “Permeabilities” is the theme of this year’s Harvard Urban Review, but hydrology in a rainstorm is hardly all we have in mind. Across scales, mediums, and membranes, the permeability of space defines urban life, driving a constant state of flux.

At the macro scale, what does permeability mean in an Anthropocene world? As wildfires permeate through woodlands, are humans permeating into the wild? Permeabilities have a micro scale too – the selective permeability of cell membranes allows all life to function. A few bollards can do the same for a pedestrianized street. What else can the microscopic teach us about urban life?

Or perhaps permeabilities don’t have to be about matter at all – on a walk across our campus, church bells mark the hours while a subway rumble rises from the sidewalk; noise percolates into a soundscape. Like noise, capital isn’t physical, but it ebbs and flows through cities nonetheless.

From the scale of nations to neighborhoods, permeabilities determine the speed and volume of movement. Absent unattainable equilibrium, stasis is impossible.

What do you think? Ideas are permeable too.


Submission Requirements

We encourage submissions that represent a diversity of viewpoints and media, including essays, works of fiction and poetry, interviews, photography, visual art, and design projects—send us your napkin sketches, roadtrip rambles, and mirror selfies. 


If you would like to discuss a particular submission, pitch, question, or complaint, please get in touch at


Submission Deadline

April 14, 2024, 5PM EST

Past Calls for Submissions

Roll the barbeque and illegal fireworks into the middle of the street. It’s time for a block party! This spring’s Harvard Urban Review theme emulates a potluck: Bring what you have from the pantry, and interpret the theme’s constituent terms “block,” “party,” and “block party” however you’d like.

Some questions we’ll be discussing from plastic lawn chairs: What does the block reveal about our relationships to each other, chance encounters in the city, and the asphalt materiality of public space? How do the cultural meanings of the block shift across cities and communities? Is the block a public unit or a collage of private spaces, contested or communal, forever changing or preserved in nostalgic amber, emblematic of the entire city or of a unique cosmos? Or can we define block more broadly, as a typology, scale, signature, or unit of measurement? We welcome all submissions along these and other interpretations and definitional deployments. Welcome to the party: What’s cooking?