Picks from the Toronto Public Library: Chapter 1

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library (formerly located at Metro Hall), a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government. Each week, TPL librarians Cynthia Fisher and Bessie Nellopoulos will select titles of books that can be found at the Library that complement the themes discussed in each chapter of Arrival City.

Let us introduce ourselves. We, Cynthia Fisher and Bessie Nellopoulos, are librarians at the Toronto Reference Library, the largest branch of the Toronto Public Library system, one of the largest public libraries in the world. With 99 branches, we serve over 2.5 million users and circulate over 32 million items. Our intention is to highlight our collection at the Toronto Reference Library.

The Toronto Reference Library itself holds over 4.5 million items (many of them non-circulating/ reference only) including books, magazines, audio-visual materials, microforms, maps, transcripts, art work, music scores, vertical files and more.

We will provide a listing of items from our collection to complement each chapter of Arrival City. To show you the vast range of our collection, we will cite older items as well as new, print and electronic, magazines, newspapers and journals where appropriate, and movies (DVD or VHS) if available.

Most of the topics touched on in Arrival City are found on the second floor, Humanities and Social Sciences Department. Many of the titles are available for loan at other branches.

Some of the key words used to research these topics are:

Rural-Urban, Migration, Urbanization, Developing countries, Sociology, Settlements, Immigration, Emigration, Housing, Suburbs, Social conditions, Economic conditions

Arrival City: Chapter 1 – On the Edge of the City

Sometimes the Library has things on the specific places mentioned in the book; sometimes there are titles related to the areas or countries. Planet of Slums is referred to by Doug Saunders as an endnote title, as is Maximum City:

Planet of slums.

Davis, Mike, 1946- . 2006, 228 p.

City and town life.
Sociology, Urban.
Urban poor.

Maximum city : Bombay lost and found. 1st ed.

Mehta, Suketu.  2004, 542 p.

Bombay (India)–Description and travel.
Mehta, Suketu–Travel–India–Bombay.


The State of the World’s Cities reports are issued by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. See:
The state of the world’s cities, 2001-,

Print Magazines, Newspapers & Journals

Cities and towns–Periodicals.
Sociology, Urban–Periodicals.

You will also see various articles cited in the Notes from newspapers. The Toronto Reference Library houses an extraordinary collection of international papers in The Toronto Star Newspaper Room. Papers are available in various formats: film, fiche and on electronic databases. These are available for viewing, copying or downloading.

Chapter One deals with Liu Gong Li, China and the Tower Hamlets of London, England. Here are a few things from the 1980’s on London and the Tower Hamlets.

Anti-EDL march Tower Hamlets 2010

Representation and urban community.

Glassberg, Andrew D. 1981, 232 p.

Bromley (London, England)–Politics and government.
Islington (London, England)–Politics and government.
Tower Hamlets (London, England)–Politics and government.


Tower Hamlets Borough plan : revised draft written statement.

1983, 186 p.

Tower Hamlets (London, England)


Brick lane & beyond : an inquiry into racial strife and violence in Tower Hamlets.

Great Britain. Commission for Racial Equality. 40 p.

London (England)–Race relations


Salaam brick lane : a year in the new East End.

Hall, Tarquin, 2005, 270 p.

East End (London, England)–Economic conditions.
East End (London, England)–Social conditions.


Urban China in transition.

Logan, John. 2007, 361 p.

Rural-urban migration–China
Sociology, Urban — China


Eating bitterness : stories from the front lines of China’s great urban migration.

Loyalka, Michelle Dammon, 1972- . 2012, 264 p.

China–Social conditions–1976-2000.
China–Social conditions–2000-



Scattered sand : the story of China’s rural migrants.

Pai, Hsiao-Hung. 2012, 302 p.

China–Economic conditions–21st century.
China–Social conditions–21st century.
Rural-urban migration–China

Also available as an e-book


China’s economic growth:  the impact on regions, migration and the environment.

Cannon, Terry, 1948- . 2000, 315 p.

China–Economic conditions–1976-2000.
China–Environmental conditions.



One country, two societies : rural-urban inequality in contemporary China.

Whyte, Martin King. 2010, 445 p.

China–Rural conditions.
China–Social conditions–1949-



Besides the regular trade books, sometimes you can find conference proceedings. Here’s an example:

The rural-urban transition and development in China : proceedings of an international conference, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou, China, December 11-55, 1996. 152 p.

City planning–British Columbia–Vancouver Metropolitan Area–Congresses.
City planning–China–Congresses.


If you are looking for something to give you a sense of today’s China, the landscape and the people, have a look at:

Last train home Gui tu lie che.

Aung-Thwin, Mila ; Cross, Daniel ; Fan, Lixin. 2011, DVD, 1 videodisc (87 min.) :

Migrant labor–China.
Migration, Internal–China.
Rural-urban migration–China.

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