Public records are important resources in researching the history of specific places. Local government agencies often maintain useful records, for example, building and water or utility permits and city block books. Note that older records may be held in preservation directory.com or public library special collections. Federal agencies also have materials related to historic buildings and places. Refer to the section "Other Resources" tabl for a list of local collections and archival sources.
The Investigative reporter's handbook: a guide to documents, databases and techniques. Brant Houston. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2021. See especially Chap. 23 Investigating Real Estate and Housing.
Paper trails: a guide to public records in California. Stephen Levine and Barbara T. Newcombe. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Center for Investigative Reporting; Sacramento: California Newspaper Publishers Association, 1996.
Local and federal government publications can be great primary sources on the history of city planning. Use them to find records of public policy and community perspectives on diverse land use and community development issues. Many government documents are listed in The Library's catalogs; start with the Find it at UC catalog for complete coverage of the UC Berkeley campus libraries.
A surprising amount of city- and community-level information is available in U.S. Congressional publications. ProQuest Congressional and Congressional Research Service Reports provide indexing and abstracts of congressional publications.
General plans, comprehensive plans, master plans—often the only record of a community's formal physical and public policy intentions—by any name local plans are excellent primary sources for history of planning research. Technically a category of government publications, general plans are so valuable for history of 20th century city planning research that they merit their own section.
The Institute of Governmental Studies Library (IGSL) maintains the most comprehensive listing and 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 items may not circulate.
The California Local Planning Documents Database is an index of California general plans owned by IGSL. The Database also includes codes, climate action plans, and financial documents.