Researching the Built Environment

URLH Resources:

Architecture and Built Environments
Conservation and Preservation
Fine-Grained Historical Information

Maps and Mapping
Organizations - NYC/Regional
Organizations - National
Organizations - International
Publications - Scholarly Journals
Publications - Urban Magazines, News Sources, Opinion

Thematic Web Sites


Architecture and Built Environments
ArtStor Digital Library:
Avery Library, Columbia University:
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
New School:
Getty Conservation Institute Abstracts of International Conservation Literature:
Historic American Building Survey, Engineering Survey, and Landscape Survey:
Library of Congress on-line images:
Resources for Urban Design Information:

Conservation and Preservation
Aga Khan Trust For Culture, Historic Cities Programme:
UNESCO World Heritage Conservation (maps, databases, documents, resources):
International Council on Monuments and Sites
International Council on Monuments and Sites, Open Archive:

Fine Grain Historical Information
For some cities, this information is digitized and online. But for most places in the U.S. and the World, these detailed documents are only available locally.
The following artifacts can be found, partially or wholly, online
City Directories (available on for some cities)
U.S. Census up to 1940 (available on
Fire Insurance Maps (available through TNS Library for NY State only)
Newspapers, national (available through ProQuest, Google Scholar, and Lexus/Nexus)
LA Times
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
U.S. Geological Survey Maps
The following records are typically only available locally
For availability in New York City, check the following:
Municipal Archives of New York
New York Public Library
New York Historical Society
Family and personal papers
Industrial and manufacturing censuses
Municipal government records
Newspapers, local
Photographs and photographic surveys
Planning documents
Plat and subdivision maps
Probate records
Tax records
Title deed transfer records (chain of title searching)

Maps and Mapping
New York City Community Data Portals
Google Maps and Google Earth
New York Public Library
NYC on line historic maps /fire-insurance-topographic-zoning-property-maps-nyc
U.S. Geological and Topographic Maps
National Archives and Records Administration

Publications - Scholarly Journals
Journal of the American Planning Association
Journal of Architectural Education
Journal of Urban Design
Journal of Planning History
Journal of the Society for Architectural Historians
Journal of Urban History
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Journal of Planning Education and Research
Buildings and Landscapes
Environment and Planning
Planning Perspectives
Urban Anthropology
Places (Design Observer)
City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action
Praxis: Journal of Writing and Building
Grey Room

Publications - Urban Magazines, News Sources, Opinion
Urban Omnibus
Land Lines
Next American City
Planners Web
Urban Design (UK)

Organizations - NYC / Regional
Architecture for Humanity NYC Chapter
Center for Architecture (AIA NYC)
Center for Urban Pedagogy
Design Trust for Public Space
Municipal Arts Society
Van Allen Institute:

Organizations - National
American Institute of Architects
American Planning Association
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Landscape Architects
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Main Street U.S.
National League of Cities
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Preservation Green Lab
Project for Public Spaces
Smart Growth Network
Trust for Public Land
Urban Institute
Urban League
U.S. Conference of Mayors

Organizations - International
Environmental Design Research Association
International Council on Monuments and Sites
International Planning History Society
The Cities Alliance
United Nations HABITAT
European Architectural History Network
International Planning History Society

U.S. Population [GIS based]
Economic Indicators
Economist Intelligence Unit Reports (ProQuest, TNS Library)
Oxford Research Country Profiles (ProQuest, TNS Library)
Snapshot Series Industry Reports (ProQuest, TNS Library)
World Population

Thematic Web Sites
ArchNet - Islamic Architecture (MIT)
Hypercities (UCLA)

Urban Policy and Issues
Center for an Urban Future
Center for Urban Transportation Research
Report Card on America's Infrastructure, American Society of Civil Engineers
Urban Institute
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Urban Land Institute






Art, Architecture and Design

American Folk Art Museum

Architecture League of New York

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Bronx Museum of Art

City Lore 

The Cloisters

Creative Time

Design Trust for Public Space

Hirshhorn Museum

Guggenheim Museum

Laundromat Project

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Municipal Arts Society 

Museum of Arts and Design

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of the Moving Image 

The New Museum

No Longer Empty

Queens Museum

Sheila C. Johnson Centre

Storefront for Art and Architecture

Studio Museum in Harlem

Van Allen Institute

Vera List Centre for Art and Politics

The Whitney Museum


Archives, Collections, Exhibition

African Burial Ground

Anthology Film Archive

Brooklyn Historical Society

International Center of Photography

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Museum of the Chinese in the Americas 

Museum of the City of New York

New York City Landmarks Commission

New York Historical Society

New York Public Library

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture