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Library Subject Guides

Sociology: Sociology of the City

Sociology of the City

Welcome to the Subject Guide for SOCI 255/355: Sociology of the City

What are primary sources?

Citing primary sources

Online resources and indexes

Some core resources online include:

Assignment Steps

This assignment requires you to analyse a source from the Macmillan Brown Library in your investigation of the development of the city, Christchurch.

We suggest you try the following approach:

  1. Identify the topic you would like to research.  If you are not sure, we have some suggested topics below, with links to some source material
  2. Look for secondary literature to give you background context.  Use the library catalogue and the web to find this material
  3. Search Kā Kohika for any related archives. If you do not find any relevant material, contact the Macmillan Brown Library
  4. Go back to your secondary sources to get more context, and to help you re-read your primary source


Ngāi Tahu in the City

Books and articles

Web resources

Emergence of the Modern City

Emergence of the modern city: Colonisation/Canterbury Settlement/Gothic Christchurch/19th early 20th century



Web resources

UC Campus

Flaneur/Walking around campus UC Campus


Web resources

Canta Magazine

Looking at the City


For a list of photographic works on Christchurch, look at this subject heading in the catalogue: Christchurch (N.Z.) -Pictorial works.

Web resource

  • The High Street Project   is a "collection of stories about the people and places that made up High Street" before the earthquakes.


The Macmillan Brown Library has a wide range of books on Christchurch suburbs. Search the catalogue using the name of the suburb and the word  Christchurch.

Some books that include a discussion on suburban growth include:

Council planning publications.

The Macmillan Brown Library has some interesting City Council planning publications. Many can be found using these search terms: City planning Christchurch and they include City of Christchurch residential urban renewal report. (1972)];  Christchurch development (1968); The city plan review: a statement of planning objectives and policies for the 1978 review of the Christchurch City District Scheme…(1977).

New Brighton:



Search the library's catalogue using the  keywords new brighton christchurch.  A couple of useful books include:

Also look at Christchurch City Libraries' bibliography of local history resources on Christchurch. The Macmillan Brown Library has most of the books listed in this.

Web Resource

Christchurch City Council's  New Brighton Centre Master Plan


The Spur, Sumner


Books and reports etc

Other books

Start with a subject keyword search urban transportation Christchurch, you could then look broader to Christchurch transport* or Christchurch traffic

Suburban development and transport. Suburban histories will include material on transport. Some examples include

Also try the keyword search  Christchurch suburb*

Tramways Do a subject keyword search on street railroads christchurch

Council Planning documents

Start with a keyword search on Christchurch city council planning  . We hold some earlier City Plans and associated documents and the most recent is available online. The City Plans include maps

Online resources

Garden City

The Garden City/ Urban Planning and Nature/Dystopia


Books on the Garden city: Some but not all of these books with garden city in their title include discussion of ChCh’s status as a Garden city

Web resource

Greening the Red Zone

City Architecture: the language and meaning of buildings


We have thousands of original architectural drawings in the Macmillan Brown Library, including works by Miles Warren, Don Donnithorne, Paul Pascoe, Peter Beaven, Armson Collins and many more.  Contact Erin to discuss access.


Naughton, Howard. "Re-inscribing the urban abject: Ngai Tahu and the Gothic Revival." New Zealand Geographer 65, no. 1 (April 2009): 48-58. Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, 10.1111/j.1745-7939.2009.01147.x

The Press newspaper will be a useful source of debate on Christchurch buildings. Early copies are available online on Papers Past, later ones are available online or on microfilm, depending on the date.

Web resource

Christchurch modern:

What was Christchurch

We have several sources written in the 1800s that describe the success or otherwise of Christchurch and the Canterbury colony. These could form a useful comparison with what the Society of Canterbury Colonists was aiming to achieve (as in the week 6 reading).

Lyttelton Times 1851-1889 on PapersPast. This newspaper is a rich source of information and includes: Journal of the week with such things as the progress of roads, land sales, NW wind;  Police report; Advertisements which include public notices including those from the Canterbury Association.

The Journal of Edward Ward 1850-1851: Being His Account of the Voyage to New Zealand  in the Charlotte Jane and the First Six Months of the Canterbury Settlement. (1951). This is a typescript of a journal held in Canterbury Museum.

Travels and adventures of an officer’s wife in India, China and New Zealand. (1864). This is also available online. It contains a detailed description of Christchurch.

Canterbury Association. Part of the Canterbury Settlement. [map] London : T.W. Saunders, [1851?] Macmillan Brown Library G 9083 .C3 .C229 Very early map of Christchurch showing the centre called Lyttelton.

If you really want to try contacting the past....

MB 705, item 79133, Psychic Research Society Scrapbook

Southern Spirits: website about the Psychic Research Society

Cities as entertainment machines: sex, drugs and rock’n’roll

The Christchurch Music Scene


RDU archives - large collection of archives relating to RDU radio station, including playlists, posters, promotional material, photographs and more. The collection is not full catalogued yet, as contact Erin to arrange to view items.


We have several music and popular culture magazines. These are a great source of information and include gigs, reviews, interviews and rants.

  • Phantom: The magazine of Phantom Billstickers Ltd (2002-2004)
  • Cheap thrills. (2015). Interviews with Christchurch musicians and more.
  • Presto (1993-2010). Another Christchurch mag. with lots of reviews and opinion pieces.
  • Opprobrium

We also have music flyers from the late '90s and early 2000s in our ephemera collection (ask at the desk for these).


Web resources:

Radical Christchurch

The Macmillan Brown Library has a range of radical/protest/socialist journals published in Christchurch. Some have long runs, some have just one or two issues.

Sport and Recreation


Browse these subject headings:

For club histories etc do a keyword search on the name of the sport and Christchurch e.g. soccer Christchurch

Web resources

Industrial Christchurch

Edmonds Factory

Archives and Art


The legacy of Thomas Edmonds   NA 1607 .C5 .A673 no.8

Web resource

Thomas Edmonds biography from Christchurch City Libraries




Christchurch Gas, Coal and Coke Company / Christchurch Gas Works 

Search the catalogue using the keywords Christchurch gas coal

Other resources on industry in Christchurch

Cosmopolitan Cities - or how to handle difference

Transitional Christchuch

Urban Renewal/ The transitional City: the mobile city: soft, fluid and non-spaces

Web Resources

Books and Journal Articles


Future/s of Christchurch


MB 1957, Sustainable Cities Trust Records, 1990s : a large collection of archives from a Christchurch based independent agency working to catalyse  sustainable urban development.  Contact Erin to arrange access

Web resources

Christchurch Earthquakes- artists' and writers' responses

These are some of the poetry, fiction and art works produced after and in response to the earthquakes. We also have many personal narratives relating to the quakes as well as a wide range of architectural, planning and other technical works.

Poetry and fiction


Photographs by Tim Veling in the UC art collection:

Art in the published collection:

Children’s books

Contact Macmillan Brown

Caroline Syddall, Research Services Librarian

Erin Kimber, UC Library Archivist

Macmillan Brown Library

Phone: +64 3 369 4499 (extn 94499)