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Finding General Plans: Special Collections

Finding General Plans is a bibliographic research guide to locating general plans, especially for California and the San Francisco Bay Area, in the UC Berkeley libraries.

California Local Plans Collections

The Environmental Design Library collects plans for major California cities and communities within the San Francisco Bay area, as well as plans for other major California and U.S. cities. Between 1948 and 1963 the library also collected general plans across the U.S. and California. These plans are cataloged in the library's catalogs; most titles are available for circulation.

The Institute of Governmental Studies Library (IGSL) maintains the most comprehensive collection of California city and county planning documents on the UC Berkeley campus. Ranging from the 1940s to the present, the collection is fully cataloged and does not circulate.  IGSL books and resources can be found in Oskicat. The library has additional finding aids for pre-1983 collections.  Contact the IGS library for more information.

The California Local Planning Documents Database is an online index of California general plans owned by IGSL. The database may be accessed at IGSL or via the Web. Current planning documents are the primary focus of the database, which may be searched by jurisdiction or place name, element (i.e., housing, open space), and year adopted. Includes addresses of planning agencies.

"701" Comprehensive Planning Reports

This large and diverse collection of general plans in the Environmental Design Library spans the period from 1954 to 1976 when the U.S. Federal Planning Assistance Program of the Housing Act of 1954 (P.L.83-560), Section 701 of Title 7, susbsidized the preparation of comprehensive plans and required their distribution to 13 U.S. urban planning depository libraries, including the Environmental Design Library. More than 20,000 reports, issued by state and local agencies, were distributed. Almost all the "701" reports--except San Francisco Bay Area plans--are stored in the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) and may be paged on request.

For a history of the "701" federal planning assistance program, see The Foundations of federal planning assistance, by Carl Feiss, IN: Journal of the American Planning Association, v.51:2, spring 1985, pp.174-184. Includes a chronology (1955-1981) of the Program's appropriations and bibliographical references.

INDEXES: These reports are listed in the Library's catalogs. Access is also provided in the Dictionary catalog of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Library and Information Division in vol. 19 of the base set, and vol. 2 in Supplements 1 and 2.

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