Skip to Main Content

Urban Studies & Planning: Books

Recommended resources for doing research in urban studies and planning

Books as Research Resources

Books are especially good for finding broad, in-depth analysis of a particular subject. They can generally offer more complete information and greater historical perspective than you will find in journals or other types of sources.



UC Library Search is the first stop for finding books, journals, documents, maps and all other material located physically in the UCSD libraries, as well as online resources purchased for your use. It also contains a limited number of online journal and newspaper articles.

You can also use UC Library Search to find materials at other UC libraries.


Circuit is a shared library catalog that searches the holdings of all San Diego university libraries (except Cal State San Marcos) and the San Diego County Public Library. If a book you need is already checked out at UCSD, or if or we don't own a book that you need, check in Circuit. If it’s available at another San Diego Circuit library, it can be delivered to UCSD in 1-3 days.


Search tip: If you have trouble finding books using a library catalog like UC Library Search (which don't search the full text of books, but only the basic bibliographic information, subject headings, table of contents, etc.), try a search using your keywords in Google Books - which does search the full text of thousands of books.

While you won't be able to read the full text via Google for most books, this is a great way to identify books of possible interest. When you find a book that looks relevant, paste the title into UC Library Search to see if the Library has access to the full text.


HathiTrust is a partnership of academic and research organizations offering a collection of millions of digitized materials from libraries around the world, include the UCSD Library. Full text is available for many but not all items - you can restrict your search to full text items.

Because of copyright limitations for more recent material, HathiTrust is best used for historical volumes and government publications.



The Library is increasingly purchasing books in electronic format rather than traditional print format. These books are listed in UC Library Search just like other books; choose the "available online" limiter on the search results screen to see only books in electronic format.

In addition to using UC Library Search to limit to electronic materials (as described above), you might want to check some of our ebook collections. See the library's ebooks guide for:


Urban Studies Call Numbers

Because urban studies is an interdisciplinary subject, books may be found in many different call number areas.  The primary call number range for general urban studies and urban planning books is HT101-395, which is on the 6th floor of Geisel Library.  The USP librarian also selects books for HE305-311 and GF101-127 call numbers.

If you are a UCSD affiliate and would like to recommend a purchase for the Library's urban studies and planning collection, please email the USP librarian directly at or use the online form.

GF 101-127 Settlements

GF 125 Cities.Urban geography

GF 127 Rural settlements. Rural geography

HD 72 - 88 Economic growth, development, planning

HD 101 - 1395.5 Land use

HD 1361 - 1395.5 Real estate business

HE 305-311 Urban transportation

HT 101-395 Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology

HT 161-165 Garden cities. "The city beautiful"

HT 165.5-169.9 City planning

HT 170-178 Urban renewal. Urban redevelopment

HT 201-221 City population; Including children in cities, immigration

HT 231 Effect of city life

HT 251-265 Mental and moral life

HT 281 Recreation. Amusements

HT 321-325 The city as an economic factor. City promotion

HT 330-334 Metropolitan areas

HT 351-352 Suburban cities and towns

HT 361-384 Urbanization. City and country

HT 388 Regional economics. Space in economics

HT 390-395 Regional planning

Catalog Search Tips

One effective way of searching any library catalog is by using Library of Congress subject headings.

Subject headings are "controlled vocabulary" - specific terms assigned by librarians to classify library materials. When conducting a subject search, terms must be entered exactly the way they appear in the library catalog. Examples of common USP-related subject headings are in the boxes below.

One way to find appropriate subject headings is to first start with keyword searching. Go to UC Library Search and do a simple keyword search, using words that match your topic. When your results come up, click the "Books" box on the left under "Resource Type", then click "apply filters".  As you look through the list of search results and find an item you like, click on the title and then scroll down to find the subject headings used to classify that item. Clicking one of those subject headings will run a new catalog search and retrieve additional materials on that specific subject.

Common Subject Headings for Urban Studies

Search tip: if using the "browse search" feature in UC Library Search to browse subject headings, try adding "california san diego" (without quotes) to the end of these subject headings. If there are relevant titles, the San Diego addendum will take you to those items in the catalog.

 Architecture and society  Public works
 Art municipal  Regional economics
 Central business districts  Regional planning
 Cities and towns  Rural development
 Cities and towns growth  Sociology urban
 City planning  Suburbs
 City planning environmental aspects  Sustainable architecture
 Coastal zone management  Sustainable development
 Community development  Transportation
 Community development urban  University towns
 Community gardens  Urban beautification
 Energy policy  Urban ecology sociology
 Environmental justice  Urban economics
 Environmental policy  Urban geography
 Gentrification  Urban health
 Housing  Urban landscape architecture
 Indian reservations  Urban policy
 Land use  Urban poor
 Land use urban  Urban renewal
 Metropolitan areas  Urban transportation
 Mexican-American border region  Urbanization
 Municipal government  Water supply
 Neighborhood planning  Water use
 Neighborhoods  Zoning
 Planned communities  


Common Subject Headings for Real Estate

Commercial Buildings Real Estate Development
Commercial Real Estate Real Estate Development- Environmental Aspects
Housing Policy Real Estate Development - Finance   
Industrial Real Estate Real Estate Development - Government Policy
Land Subdivision Real Estate Development - United States
Land Use Real Estate Investment
Land Use - Urban    Real Estate Management
Real Estate Business Real Property
Real Estate Developers Residential Real Estate