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Finding Local Environmental Design Information: Home

A guide to finding U.S. community-specific information in the context of the built environment and with an emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area and California.

Introduction

Finding Local Information is a bibliographic research guide to finding U.S. community-specific information in the UC Berkeley libraries, the community, and on the Web, in the context of the built environment and with an emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area and California. While of general research interest, this guide is designed to support various UC Berkeley courses, especially City Planning 110: Introduction to City Planning, City Planning 118 AC and Landscape Architecture 141 AC, and focuses on resources in the UC Berkeley libraries, local community, and on the web.

Deconstruct your topic

Deconstruct your topic to uncover its complexities and hidden conceptual connections, to focus your research, and to increase your search vocabulary. The more ways you have of describing and thinking about your topic, the more information you're likely to find. Another term for deconstructing a research question is 'concept mapping;' see the Rhode Island School of Design Library's excellent slide show, Concept Mapping, for a visual tutorial.

  1. Write down your topic. Be brief!
  2. Ask the 6 journalist's questions about your chosen topic: Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, How? Do your best to answer these questions. Remember to include alternative spellings. For example: 
    • Who designed/authorized/regulates the project? / Who are/were the client(s)? / Who paid for it? / Who are/were the intended users? 
    • What type of land use is it? / What were /are the design/regulatory/financial/social constraints? 
    • Where is the project located? (city, state, neighborhood, country) 
    • When was it/will it be planned/approved/constructed? (date completed, century, historical period) 
    • Why was the project approved or rejected? 
    • How did/does the public/client/intended audience respond to the project?
  3. Pay attention to the questions you can't answer about your topic. Look for for the answers in the specialized reference sources in the following section.
  4. Add to your 'deconstruction notes' as you learn more about your topic.

For additional ways to explore the concepts and social factors influencing your topic, see Finding Information on Buildings and Places.

Contact Information

Environmental Design Library
Contact:
210 Wurster Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Website / Blog Page
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