John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

Mapping the Shout-Outs of Lil Jon and Ice Cube

Has your city had the honor of being profanely recognized by these hip-hop kings?

San Francisco's New Bike Racks Are Self-Aware

They make security cameras take your picture and cry for help if somebody is stealing your bike.

A screwdriver, Rubik's cube, and chain.

Bus Shelters Are Less Boring When Equipped With a Rubik's Cube

Here’s a DIY guide to livening up your bus stop with the world’s most-beloved puzzle.

A man soaking in a hot tub made from a giant pothole on a street, surrounded by dirt and construction tape

How to Get the City to Notice Your Damn Pothole

A citizen’s guide to wacky schemes, from impromptu hot tubs to “birthday parties.”

Gorgeous 180-Degree Panoramas of Latin America's Churches

Photographer Richard Silver bends the vaulted ceilings of churches into surreal, dazzling designs.

Portland Deploys Thief-Proof Bike Racks

The city’s bike bandits like attacking racks—but this one fights back.

A Fantasy Subway Map of Ancient Roman Roads

If the Roman Empire had managed build a continents-spanning transit system for its empire, it might have looked like this.

A ghost-bike monument to a rider killed nearby lies draped with flowers in Santiago, Chile.

Why Are the Costs of Bike Crashes Rising So Much?

The tumultuous urban environment seems to be driving up the dire consequences of wrecking, researchers say.

Behold the Power of the Seriously Loud Bike Horn

“It makes me laugh every time,” says a Brooklyn cyclist who uses an assault-grade bike horn.

A bike missing its front wheel lies in a rack at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station.

How to Thief-Proof Your Bike

Bay Area bike pros explain how to save your ride from being picked apart like a free Thanksgiving turkey.

An award-winning visualization uses satellite imagery to reveal the changing lPacific Northwest landscape since the 1990s.

Watch the Pacific Northwest Change Before Your Eyes

An award-winning visualization uses satellite imagery to reveal the ravages of development, fire, insects, and clear-cut logging.

A photograph of bicycles in China that are equipped with air filtration equipment to protect riders from smog.

What If Bikes Ate Smog?

No, not metaphorically. We’re talking about sending fleets of bicycles with air filtration equipment into the streets to remove nasty airborne particles.

In the Future, We Will Paint By Drone

Finally, swarms of spray-painting drones can create street art.

A creative crosswalk in Rotterdam urges pedestrians to "Stand Straight."

Funky Dutch Crosswalks Celebrate the Pedestrian

In Rotterdam, the streets have a message: “Walk Proud.”

Amazing City Maps That Look Like They're Made of Wood

A San Francisco mapmaker’s work appears so real you can smell the varnish.

The Sublime Cisterns of San Francisco

Subterranean vats were an emergency response to the city being repeatedly and savagely burned to the ground.

Can L.A. De-Stink Its Metro?

The city is installing lavender-smelling deodorizers in train cars to address rider complaints.

Denver's Trees Just Turned Blue

The freaky forests are an artistic cry against global deforestation.

This Magic Dutch Traffic Light Helps Bicyclists Avoid Stopping

The “Flo” system uses cute creatures to tell cyclists to speed up or slow down to catch a green light.

The Ultimate Photo Map of the 1906 San Francisco Quake

See the disaster that transformed the city from a galaxy of perspectives.

Mapping Amtrak Service, Before and After the Trump Budget

A visualization shows hundreds of cities that would lose long-distance trains under the president’s proposed budget.