SFU Library Urban Studies collections policy

The Urban Studies Program at Simon Fraser University offers courses of study which lead to the Master of Urban Studies degree and the Graduate Diploma Program in Urban Studies. The program provides a strong foundation in various urban related disciplines and emphasizes the application of these disciplines to real-world problems and situations.

Research by faculty and students covers community economic development, local/metropolitan/urban governance, global cities, electoral reform and local democracy, regional and urban economics, housing, urban transportation, urban geography, urban sociology, urban sustainable development, urban policy, urban planning, and urban research design and methods.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Urban Studies Liaison Librarian. Liaison with the program is maintained through the departmental library representative and direct contact with other faculty members when required. Regular contact with other liaison librarians and teaching departments is nurtured through the sharing of relevant review material.

Interdisciplinary Relationships

  • Geography – the most closely linked department and the one which shares the most research interests. Geography also offers an undergraduate certificate in Urban Studies.
  • History, Political Science and Anthropology/Sociology – each of these departments shares research interests with and contributes faculty to Urban Studies.
  • Public Policy – another SFU Vancouver graduate program which shares some research interests.
  • Continuing Studies based at the SFU Vancouver Campus also offers Urban Issues programs: the City Program, the Urban Design Certificate, the Community Education Program and the Certificate Program for CED Professionals.

SFU Library Resources

The Belzberg Library, at the SFU Vancouver Campus, is the main library used by students. It houses a core collection of urban studies books and journals. The WAC Bennett Library at the Burnaby Campus has additional books and journals and delivery is available between library branches. Most journals used by Urban Studies are available electronically. The Maps/Data/GIS unit of the Bennett Library provides access to important data sources.

Regional Resources

The Art + Architecture + Planning Division of the UBC Library has a large collection of materials on architecture and community and regional planning which support the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the School of Community and Regional Planning. 

The City of Vancouver Archives provides access to records that document the city's history.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (BC Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia which allow delivery of journal articles and books from member libraries in a timely manner. Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the Interlibrary Loan webpage and from many databases, and interlibrary loans are also arranged with other libraries around the world, as needed.  Besides document delivery benefits, membership in these and other consortia, including the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, also offers substantial savings on the collective purchase of licensed electronic resources.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: the emphasis is on the acquisition of materials in English.

Chronological guidelines: the emphasis is on contemporary material, with historical local material being of interest.

Geographical guidelines: emphasis is on Canada. Materials on the United States and International cities are also important.

Treatment of subject: all treatments except clinical and religious aspects.

Types of materials: collecting is split between books and journals. There is an emphasis on e-journals and web resources.

Date of Publication: emphasis is on current publications. Retrospective acquisitions are normally only for replacement of important titles which have deteriorated or disappeared.

Coordination and cooperation with other campus resources: Geography Liaison Librarian for collection development; Maps/Data/GIS Unit for Data sources.

Other factors for consideration: because of the overlap with the associated programs, especially Geography, at Bennett Library, some duplication of materials at Bennett and Belzberg Libraries must take place. However, space restrictions at Belzberg Library require that only important books be ordered as duplicates.


The following table lists the main subjects collected by the SFU Library in support of the Urban Studies teaching areas and research interests.  Selection is from forms sent by Coutts, as well as from catalogues and review sources.

Coutt's headings:

  • FC2001-2020 (Canadian Local history – within this heading are city histories)
  • HE305-311 - Urban transportation
    HT - Communities. Classes. Races
    • HT51-65 – Communities
    • HT51-1595 - Communities. Classes. Races
    • HT101-395 - Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology
    • HT161-165 - Garden cities. "The city beautiful"
    • HT165.5-169.9 - City planning. Zoning
    • HT170-178 - Urban renewal. Urban redevelopment
    • HT201-221 - City population [Including children in cities, immigration]
    • HT231 - Effect of city life
    • HT251-265 - Mental and moral life
    • HT281 - Recreation. Amusements
    • HT321-325 - The city as an economic factor. City promotion
    • HT330-334 - Metropolitan areas
    • HT351-352 - Suburban cities and towns
    • HT361-384 - Urbanization. City and country
    • HT388 - Regional economics
    • HT390-395 - Regional planning

Library of Congress subject headings (not covered above):

  • Cities and towns
  • Education, urban
  • Public spaces
  • Urban policy
  • Urban renewal
  • Community development