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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.


The Library is increasingly purchasing books in electronic format rather than traditional print format. These books are listed in our catalog just like other books, and you can even limit your catalog search to find just the books that are available online. 

To do this, simply click on the "electronic materials" link at the top of the search page and then enter your search term. All of the resulting titles will be fully viewable online.

Ebooks will be especially important while classes are being taught online. In addition to using the Roger catalog 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:

Also, a large number of the print books owned by all the UC libraries are temporarily available for full viewing in HathiTrust; see more information/instructions here.


The UCSD Library's Roger catalog 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.

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.

NOTE: Circuit is currently unavailable, but is expected to re-start in late October/early November.

If a book or journal you need isn't available through Roger or Circuit, try the Melvyl catalog. It allows you to search worldwide, or limit your search to UC Libraries. If borrowed from another UC campus, your item should arrive in 3-6 days. From other libraries, books and journals can take up to 3 weeks, so start your research early!

Search tip: If you have trouble finding books using a library catalog like Roger or Melvyl (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 you like, paste the title into the Roger catalog or the HathiTrust catalog 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.

In response to the Covid-19 situation, a large number of the print books owned by all the UC libraries are temporarily available for full viewing in HathiTrust. Find more information and instructions here.

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. You can click any of these to run a live search in the library catalog.

One way to find appropriate subject headings is to first start with keyword searching. Go to the Roger catalog and do a simple keyword search, using words that match your topic. 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.