Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments welcomes quality submissions from new and experienced authors and artists alike. Our online journal, publishing on a rolling basis, accepts only the finest poetry, essays, fiction, articles, artwork, videos, and other contributions — material that reaches deep into the earth’s fiery core, or humanity’s incalculable core, and brings forth new insights and wisdom.

Our regular submission period is open September 2 – May 30. We are currently accepting general submissions.


How to Submit

For contest submission guidelines, click here. Note that the contest submission period closed September 1 and will reopen on January 1.

Our audience is wide, from technical and professional to generalist, and we average more than 300,000 page views per year.

Except in specific situations — such as Unsprawl case studies — written work should be non-academic in nature; i.e., in general magazine form, such as Outside or Audubon or similar.

Submissions must represent or otherwise have a distinct relationship to the built and natural environments, either as they are interrelated or as separate subjects. The relationship may be literal, implied, creative, or barely visible at all. Surprise us.

All contributions are fully archived.

We accept general submissions from September 2 to May 30, and contest submissions from January 1 to September 1. We do not accept regular submissions in June, July, and August. With the exception of accompanying artwork and queries, all work must be submitted online via Terrain.org’s Submission Manager, requiring the creation of a user account.

A single document containing your submission (one story, one essay, up to six poems, or the like) must be submitted in Microsoft Word format as .doc or .docx or .rtf, Apple Pages as .pages, or ASCII Text format as .txt. For videos, please paste the link of the video in your cover letter document if it has been uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.

Poetry and prose submissions sent in hard copy will not be read nor returned.

Please query info@terrain.org for interviews, the Unsprawl case study, narrative slideshows, and article and video ideas. Please query arterrain@terrain.org for ARTerrain gallery ideas. Completed nonfiction, as well as poetry, fiction, reviews, and videos, must be submitted via our Submission Manager.

Artwork may be submitted as .jpg, .gif, .tif, .png, or similar, common graphics formats, electronically or in hard copy, via email or regular mail. Other formats or files over 6 MB in size should be preceded by a query note to the editors. Graphics files may also be submitted in hard copy, via regular mail, if unavailable in computer format (see below).

Every submission must include brief biographical information about the author or artist, either in the comments area of the online Submission Manager, or included in the single document of the submission itself. The title(s) of the piece, author’s or artist’s name, address, email, and relevant website address (if applicable) must appear on the first page of each submission, as either a separate title page or cover letter, or in the header or footer of each submitted piece.

Do not submit more than once every six months, unless previously encouraged to do so by the editors.

Terrain.org’s editors will make every attempt to respond to all submissions, via email, within four months. Submitters will also receive electronic confirmation of the submission via the Submission Manager.

Terrain.org publishes previously published materials so long as the work is not currently available online (please notify us when submitting), though original, unpublished work is preferred. We also accept simultaneously submitted materials (immediate notification of acceptance elsewhere is required).

Individual authors and artists maintain copyright to their own work appearing in Terrain.org. Reproduction by others in whole or in part without permission of the authors or artists is prohibited. The editors request that Terrain.org be notified, and listed as original publisher where applicable, if materials will be republished.

At this time, Terrain.org does not pay for contributions.

What to Submit

For contest submission guidelines, click here.

Submissions are considered for the following genres, and mixed-genre and multimedia submissions—including photo essays, narrative slideshows, poem essays, Flash movies, and videos—will gladly be considered. If unsure, query us at info@terrain.org, but use this email for queries only. Submit online here.

Poetry need not follow any particular form. Terrain.org’s Poetry section may include multiple works from single authors as well as single works from single authors. Submit from two to six poems of any length in a single document.

Creative nonfiction, photo, personal, and other essays need not follow any particular essay style. 6,000 words maximum for creative nonfiction. Articles may be technical or journalistic in nature. Strive for at least 1,500 words, with no maximum. Accompanying resource links, graphics, and sidebars are encouraged. Photos or other graphics may be inserted into the document, but if accepted will be requested as separate files.

Short stories, excerpts from novels, flash fiction, radio plays, drama, and other forms of fiction are encouraged. 6,000 words maximum.

Interviews should reflect on the theme of the built and natural environments. We encourage diversity in careers, backgrounds, ethnicity, genders, and perspectives. Recommended word count is 1,500 to 3,000 words.

Reviews + Reads
Reviews of published or forthcoming books, CDs, magazines, community planning resource kits, websites, movies, and other items are encouraged, as are “Recommended Reads”, in which authors provide a list and narrative description of the books that have most influenced their own work. No maximum word length.

Videos spanning any genre and approach are welcome as we expand this genre. Videos under three minutes in length are preferred.

ARTerrain Gallery
The ARTerrain Gallery may include photographs, drawings, paintings, site graphics, and any other visual (and audio) media. Only one artist is highlighted in each ARTerrain Gallery. Between 6 and 12 electronic or hard copy submissions should include supporting narrative and an in-depth biographical sketch of the artist. We encourage you to query first, as space for the ARTerrain Gallery fills quickly.

Unsprawl Case Study
The Unsprawl case study is an in-depth narrative and design-oriented review of a development that is environmentally, economically, and culturally more viable than conventional suburban “sprawl” development. May highlight a new development, redevelopment, or historically livable project, site, or community in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Query the editors before submitting.


Terrain.org is highly competitive, but we value every submission and appreciate the opportunity to review your work.

For more information, review our contest guidelines, or contact us.

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