Semester at CityStudio

Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Semester in Dialogue to SFU Vancouver. This guide will help you to use our library to find and evaluate research material for your projects. If you need further help don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.

Research sources

Library research involves selecting your topic, identifying the best sources and appropriate research tools, accessing the items found and evaluating your results. Start Your Research Here is a brief guide that will help you with this process.

Start your hunt for information "at home" by visiting the SFU Library home page. This gathers all the best research tools, guides and research help in one place. Try our Library Search engine from the home page to quickly find books, articles and information on the library website in one search.

Books, articles and web sites on your course reading list or course outline can also provide a good starting point, particularly if the items include bibliographies, references or links to related material.  Course readings may be placed on reserve in the library or available online.  Check Course Reserves to find material on reserve for Dial 390.

Books, ebooks, films, music, sound, slides

Search the Library Catalogue to find all books, reports, and media materials, both in print and online, in the SFU Library.

Try the following SUBJECT headings:

The main SUBJECT heading for information about Vancouver is: Vancouver (B.C.) Note the list of SUBHEADINGS for more specific aspects of the city.

Refer to previous Dialogue course guides for more subject headings related to the City of Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, the foundation of CityStudio.


Journal and newspaper articles

Use Journal articles and databases to find articles in academic journals, trade magazines, reports, and newspapers, as well as financial and statistical data. 

For help with searching databases, check the guides Finding journal articles and/or Moving from citation to article.

For articles not online or at SFU, request an Interlibrary Loan.


Academic Search Complete
Multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals.

Alternative Press Index
Alternative and radical media journals.

Business Source Complete
Index to business journals, industry magazines, and industry & market reports.

Canadian Newsstream
​Fulltext of major Canadian newspapers and small market BC papers.

Canadian Electronic Library
Public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.

Canadian Research Index
Canadian government publications.

CBCA Complete (Canadian Business and Current Affairs)
Covers news, business, and academic sources with a Canadian focus.

E-books in the Environmental Sciences.

Environment Complete
Major database on environmental topics.

Key human and physical geography database with interdisciplinary coverage of urban topics.

Research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment

Sociological Abstracts
Sociological aspects of community development and urban studies; includes cited references.

Web of Science
Multidisciplinary source and citation index - particularly useful for finding out who else cited an article that you have found relevant. 

Statistics and government sources

BC Housing
Partners with public and private housing providers, other levels of government and community agencies to create housing support for those in need. See Partner Resources.

BC Stats Publications
The A-Z index (located under the Search tab) provides access to BC Statistics by detailed subject.

City of Vancouver
Provides information and links to city projects and initiatives, including:

See also City of Vancouver Areas of the City Web Pages, which includes information about Vancouver's neighbourhoods, including profiles, partnership programs, projects and community events.

Data BC
An open data initiative by the Government of British Columbia. Use the catalogue to access provincial government data, applications, and web services. Browse by sector and organization.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Canadian municipalities in partnership with the Government of Canada focusing on improving quality of life for citizens. Programs include Green Municipal Fund and Partners for Climate Protection.

Government of British Columbia:
Access point to the Government of British Columbia. Browse the A-Z subject indexministries and organizations, or services section for initiatives, mandates, and responsibilities at the provincial government level.

Government of Canada Open Data Portal
Federal government datasets available to find, evaluate, access, visualize, and reuse. Browse by department, subject, or geospatial collection. Includes links to other open data initiatives available at the provincial and municipal level.

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Federal Ministry of Environment; see the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Metro Vancouver
Community planning and development information, including an overview of Metro Vancouver's Sustainable Region Initiative. See also past Sustainability Dialogues.

Statistics Canada: Statistics by Subject
The main source for Canadian statistical information, including statistics on the environment. Search the 2011 Census for city and community-level statistics. Statistics Canada has also prepared a customized 2011 Census local area dataset for the City of Vancouver, using the City’s 22 local planning areas.

Vancouver Coastal Health
Provides local health care services within Metro Vancouver. Focuses on community and environmental health.

Selected Internet sources

In addition to the library catalogue and databases, you will find a lot of good information on the web. Governments, research institutes, non-profit organizations, industry and other associations and companies all have web sites - many with publications freely available. Use a web search engine such as Google, Google Scholar or to find additional information, including the web sites of interest groups and other organizations. Check the library's Internet Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating web sites.

Useful sites for Semester at CityStudio:

BC Healthy Communities
A province-wide not-for-profit organization that facilitates the ongoing development of healthy, thriving and resilient communities. See the Learning Centre for tools, articles, and publications. A founding member of Canadian Healthy Communities.

BC Ideas
A Changemakers community. Explores new ways of developing, investing in, and increasing social impact across BC. Features interviews and blog posts with leading social innovators and entrepreneurs from across BC and Canada.

Building Movement Project
Advance ways nonprofits can significantly contribute to building movement for progressive social change. Includes reports on social change leadership.

Canadian Institute of Planners - Tools and Guidelines for Healthy Communities
Includes a research section with a focus on public health, land use planning, community design, age-friendly communities, First Nations, mental health, transportation, and housing.
The world's largest online petition platform. 

The Happy City/Lab
Charles Montgomery's book about achieving happiness through urban design. 

International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC)

A partnership between SFU and Judith Marcuse Projects. A global centre for networking, training, professional development, research and community outreach in the field of art for social change. Includes a resources and links section.

Local Governments for Sustainability

This non-profit organization works directly with local government practitioners to develop local initiatives to achieve local, national, and international sustainability objectives. See resources section.

NewCity Institute
Promotes best practices research and implementation focused on cities, sustainability and citizen participation, and includes links to local projects. 

Project for Public Places
A non-profit planning, design and educational organization that assists with the creation, transformation and sustainability of public spaces for community development. Includes a projects and resources page.

SFU Public Square: City Conversations
A series of discussions on various issues affecting Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, including culture, architecture the environment and food.

Social Innovation Exchange (SIX)
Connects individuals, organizations and industries to create innovative solutions to social problems such as climate change, inequality and healthcare.

Social Innovation Generation
A collaborative partnership between The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, and the PLAN Institute, aiming towards fostering innovation and change. 

A collection of tools and informational resources for transforming ideas for social change into a reality. Endorsed by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. 

Street to Home
A partnership between Vancouver Foundation, City of Vancouver and the Province of BC. View  housing projects tackling homelessness in Vancouver.

Sustainable Communities Online
Links citizens to resources and to one another to create sustainable communities.

Sustainable Cities Institute
Provides resources with background information on a variety of sustainability topics. Sponsored by the National League of Cities.

World Health Organization Healthy Settings
Includes international resources, publications, and links to Healthy Cities Initiatives launched by cities around the world.

Subject Research guides are produced by SFU liaison librarians to point you to the best external sources as well as providing information about publications available in the library. Try these guides for further suggestions.

Ask us!

If you would like any further assistance or information about the library or your research, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.