Quick Links

Urban planning

Liaison librarian

  • Julie [dot] Jones [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-5727

Librarian office hours

Tuesdays, 11:30am-1pm
Room 409, Macdonald-Harrington Building

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

Sources for Background Information

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Guides and Handbooks

Maps and geospatial data

Searching the Library Catalogue

To search an exact phrase...use Quotes
"urban housing policy"

To narrow your search...use AND
"city planning" AND Canada

To exclude certain words from your search...use NOT
(city AND planners) NOT Japan

To use various terms for similar concepts...use OR
(city OR regional OR town) AND planning

To search the root of a word...use *
plan* will retrieve:


To find a specific journal or article for which you have the title of the journal, see our Find Journals guide.

For more information on finding articles, see our Find Articles guide.

Article databases

Core databases

These databases are the best places to start when searching for articles on Planning topics:

  • Urban Studies Abstracts - Covers areas essential to urban studies, including city planning, urban affairs, community development, transportation, and urban design.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals - Includes articles on the subjects of architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, historic preservation, and urban design.
  • Scopus - A major multidisciplinary database that includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts.
  • Web of Science - A major multidisciplinary database for the Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, as well as the Sciences. Includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts.

Additional databases

  • EconLit  
    Core scholarly literature on economic topics.
  • Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management Database  
    Multidisciplinary, comprehensive coverage of the environmental sciences.
  • GEOBASE - Multidisciplinary database containing research on the earth sciences, ecology, geology, human and physical geography, environmental sciences, oceanography, geomechanics, alternative energy sources, pollution, waste management, and nature conservation.
  • Google Scholar - Searches scholarly literature across disciplines and sources and includes some grey literature. Search commands differ from those in academic databases, so use the Google search tips here: google_tips_handout.pdf.
  • GreenFILE - Focuses on human impact on the environment. Topics covered include green issues, global climate change, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.
  • GREENR - Devoted to the study of sustainability and the environment and provides access to academic articles, news articles, background information, video, primary source documents and statistics.
  • PubMed - Journal article database of the National Library of Medicine in the U.S. Some coverage of health-related topics in Planning such as the impact of the built environment, social determinants of health, and climate change issues. 
  • PAIS International - Covers global public policy, social issues, demography, environmental studies, general social sciences.
  • Transport - Comprehensive international transportation information. Contains the TRB's TRIS and the OECD's ITRD. McGill's subscription allows 5 concurrent users.
  • TRID - Transportation research. Combines the records from TRB's Transportation Research Information Services Database (TRIS) and the OECD's Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation Database (ITRD). Also contains articles and papers from peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, technical reports, and more.

Sources for searching for grey literature

Grey literature is information produced outside of traditional publishing--government documents, reports, working papers, urban plans, etc. This information is often produced by organizations "on the ground" (such as NGOs and IGOs) where dissemination of information and reporting on activities is the goal before publishing an academic article or book. If the source is a Google Custom Search, use the Google search tips here: google_tips_handout.pdf.
  • Carleton University's Find Canadian Government Publications on the Web - Google Custom Search that searches across Canadian government websites with the option to limit to federal, provincial, or municipal information.
  • Canadian electronic library: Canadian public policy collection - Publications from Canadian public policy institutes, government agencies, advocacy groups, think-tanks, university research centres and public interest groups.
  • IGO Search - Google Custom Search of IGO websites for reports and other publications. Maintained by the Union of International Associations (UIA).  
  • NGO Search - Custom Google Search of NGO websites for reports and other publications  
  • Google Scholar - Searches scholarly literature across disciplines and sources and includes some grey literature.
  • McGill Library Subject Guide for Theses and Dissertations - Lists sources for locating theses and dissertations from McGill and beyond.  
  • McGill Library Subject Guide for Conference Papers - Lists sources for locating conference papers and presentations. Conference papers and presentations report research in-progress. 
  • McGill Library Urban Plan Collection - Database of reports and plans for urban and rural areas from all Canadian provinces. Some American and international material. Years covered at present are roughly 1950-2006. Database will provide a box number for the print material, which can be found along shelved along the south wall of the Blackader-Lauterman Collection on the 3rd floor of the Redpath Library Building.  
  • Urban Studies and Planning Commons - Scholarship from hundreds of universities and colleges. Provides open access to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work. 

Selected Internet sites for statistics, data, and grey literature

Locating past Supervised Research Projects (SRPs)

Other Resources

Professional Societies and Government Agencies

Selected Journals

  • Cities
    Find it online
  • Environment and Planning A
    Find it online
  • Environment and Planning B. Planning & Design
    Find it online
  • Environment and Planning C. Government & Policy
    Find it online
  • Environment and Planning D. Society & Space
    Find it online
  • Habitat International
    Find it online
  • Journal of the American Planning Association
    Find it online
  • Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
    Find it online
  • Journal of Planning Education and Research
    Find it online
  • Journal of Planning History
    Find it online
  • Journal of Planning Literature
    Find it online
  • Journal of Transport and Land Use
  • Journal of Urban Design
    Find it online
  • Journal of Urban Planning and Development
    Find it online
  • Plan Canada
    NA9000 P55x in Blackader-Lauterman
  • Planning Perspectives
    Find it online
  • Urban History
    Find it online


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