Designing the Future: MetroVancouver: Semester in Dialogue

Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Undergraduate 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 help, please contact Ebony Magnus, Head, Belzberg Library at 778.782.5054 or or Ask a librarian.

Research Sources for Designing the Future: MetroVancouver

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.

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.

Books, Ebooks, Films, Music, Sound, Slides

Search the catalogue to find all books, reports and media materials in the SFU Library at all three campuses (Belzberg - Vancouver; Bennett - Burnaby; Surrey - SFU Surrey).

  • Searching by KEYWORD is generally the best way to start. Once you have found some good results with your keyword searches, use the subjects on those items to focus your search.
  • Try the following SUBJECT headings:
    • Architecture Environmental Aspects
    • City Planning British Columbia Vancouver
    • City Planning Environmental Aspects
    • Community Development Urban
    • Design Industrial
    • Ecological Engineering
    • Environmentalism
    • Environmental Policy British Columbia
    • Environmental Responsibility
    • Green Movement
    • Housing British Columbia Vancouver
    • Human Ecology
    • Industrial Ecology
    • Nature Effect of Human Beings On
    • Recycling Waste Etc
    • Sustainable Architecture
    • Sustainable Development
    • Sustainable Living
    • Urban Ecology


Journal and Newspaper Articles

  • All print and electronic journals subscribed to by the SFU Library are listed in the catalogue. 
  • Connect to Journal Articles and Databases to find articles in academic journals, trade magazines, reports and newspapers, as well as financial and statistical data. Many indexes provide online access to the full text of the articles or allow you to directly request photocopies of articles through the "Where Can I Get This?" link. Browse by subject area to identify useful databases for your topic.

    Suggested article databases for Designing the Future:

    • Academic Search Premier - multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals.
    • Alternative Press Index - alternative and radical media; includes urban ecology and sustainability.
    • Art Full Text - covers architecture, city planning and urban design.
    • Business Source Complete - business journals, industry magazines and industry & market reports.
    • Canadian Newsstream - fulltext of major Canadian newspapers and Canwest's small market BC papers.
    • Canadian Electronic Library - monograph publications from policy and research institutes, think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies and university research centres.
    • Canadian Research Index - Canadian government publications.
    • CBCA Complete - current events, business, science, the arts, and academic information as produced in Canada.
    • Econlit - covers economic aspects of urban development.
    • Geobase - key human and physical geography database with interdisciplinary coverage for researching environmental issues.
    • GreenFile - covers topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternative fuel sources.
    • Sociological Abstracts - covers sociological aspects of environmental and urban studies.
    • Web of Science - A multidisciplinary source that indexes thousands of social science and humanities journals in addition to science journals. It also includes cited reference searches.
    • World Development Indicators - provides access to over 600 development indicators including economic, social, environmental and business.

Statistics and Government Sources

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 one of the web search engines such as Google, Google Scholar or to find additional information, including the web sites of interest groups and other organizations. Check the library's World Wide Web Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating web sites.

Useful sites for Designing the Future:

  • Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) - Through the LEED Canada Initiative and the Green Building Performance Initiative, the CaGBC aims to transform the built environment to create buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy.
  • Cyburbia: The Planning Community - is a social networking site for urban planners and others interested in cities and the built environment. The site includes a message board, an image hosting gallery, syndicated feeds of hundreds of planning-related weblogs, and a selective directory of Internet resources relevant to planning and urbanism.
  • Design Can Change - click the resource link for descriptions on project initiatives and downloads on design guidelines and project ideas.
  • Design Centre for Sustainability: UBC - is a research centre engaged in applying sustainability concepts to the development of land, cities, and community.
  • The Global Development Research Center (GDRC) - is a virtual organization that carries out initiatives in education and research in the areas of environmental sustainability, urbanization and community development. For resources that intersect these themes, go to the Urban Environmental Management Programmes page.
  • Green Communities Canada - is a national association of non-profit organizations that deliver innovative, practical environmental solutions to Canadian households and communities.
  • LivableRegion Coalition: Lower Mainland - is an advocacy group opposed to the Gateway Program.
  • NewCity Institute - promotes best practices research and implementation focused on cities, sustainability and citizen participation.
  • Project for Public Spaces - is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people and communities create and sustain public spaces.
  • Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia - The Foundation funds non-profit research, public and professional education, and law reform activities that demonstrate responsible real estate and land use practices.
  • The Architecture, Planning & Landscape Information Gateway - is a resource for academics, students, professionals and practitioners with an interest in the areas of architecture, planning and landscape.
  • Smart Growth BC - is a non-governmental organization devoted to fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible land use and development.
  • Sustainable Communities Network (SCN) - links citizens to resources and to one another to create sustainable communities.
  • SFU Sustainability Network - hub for sustainability, energy reduction, education, and climate action initiatives at SFU.
  • UBC: Web Resources in Planning - provides a host of web resources relevant to urban sustainable development.
  • UN - HABITAT - is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
  • World Resources Institute - An environmental think tank that provides independent guidance to policy makers on climate change technology, business engagement, policy design and international issues.

Research guides for related subjects

  • 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.