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.

An illustration of Earth with white strips of light emanating out

The World's Soaring CO2 Levels Visualized as Skyscrapers

This unusual animation gives an architectural twist to the history and possible dark future of climate change.

A bollard toppled over and cracked on a city street, surrounded by wheel marks

How Do You Design an Effective Bike-Lane Barrier?

Drivers are mowing over dividers in Oakland meant to protect cyclists and pedestrians. What can be done?

A traffic light dangles from its wire on Simonton Street in downtown Key West, Florida, after Hurricane Wilma

The Storm-Preparedness Tool That Predicts Power Outages

Researchers wanted to forecast potential blackouts across vast spans, not just specific cities.

Palm trees blow in the wind and rain

Watch the Damage a Category 5 Hurricane Can Wreak

In Puerto Rico, Florida, and beyond, storms with the force of Hurricane Irma can cause total structural oblivion, smashed trees, and blackouts for weeks or months.

Washington Is Scribbling Superb Traffic Maps With Microsoft Paint

The state transportation department is “full of real, genuine people,” says its spokeswoman, who just happen to be “not that great at art.”

A close-up view of red swamp crawfish

Southern Crawfish Are the Newest Scourge to Northern Infrastructure

When the tasty critters invade, they can undermine the integrity of dams and levees.

A proposal for a milk-vending cow in a public park.

The Fossil-Fuel-Free Cities of the Future Sure Look Weird

Three takes on imagining a carbon-free world.

Visualizing the Bloody History of Mining as Precious-Metal Blobs

Photographer Dillon Marsh contrasts the total output of South African mines against settings of violence and ecological devastation.

Farmers work on a farm near a construction site of new residential buildings in Shanghai in 2016

The Smells, Sounds, and Tastes of Future Cities

How might climate change and new technology cause upheavals in our sensorial landscape?

Here Are the Cities With the Best Shot of Seeing the Eclipse

NASA has crunched the numbers on probable cloud cover and revealed the best places to watch the August 21 cosmic spectacle.

A crow perches on a gravestone in Ukraine.

When Crows Attack

One man is on a mission to map bird-on-human aggression around the world.

Watch the World's Temperatures Spiral Out of Control

“Temperature Anomalies” is a data visualization of the past century’s changing climate that effectively captures how screwed we are.

A bicyclist tries to cross railroad tracks and tumbles to the ground.

The Brutal Saga of One Extremely Evil Railroad Crossing

Dozens of cyclists have crashed on a slice of railroad tracks in Knoxville. What lessons can be gleaned from this infrastructural pitfall?

A man and two kids interact with the street perfume machine at an L.A. bus stop

How One L.A. Bus Stop Became a Depot for Experimental Perfumes

The LADOT’s inaugural artist-in-residence has gifted a bus shelter with some truly weird, history-inspired scents.

Fog swallows up the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Your Real-Time Eye on San Francisco's Famous Fog

Bask in the sublime beauty of “Karl,” the city’s chilly miasma, with these always-updated satellite images.

The Rivers of the U.S., Collected Into a Nifty Subway Map

A designer who spent his youth floating on rafts has conjured up a delightful transit guide to America’s waterways.

An illuminated statue of E. coli in a park in lower Manhattan

New York City Salutes a Fecal Microbe That Sickens Millions

What better place for a giant statue of E. coli?

Boston Commuters Brace For GIF-Based Etiquette Campaign

Get ready to have your subway behavior corrected by cute dogs, cats, and a sneezing panda.

Where the Dogs Are in New York

One former dog-walker has set out to map the city’s varying degrees of doggy density.

Mapping America's Longest and Shortest Commutes

Which U.S. counties have the fastest travel times to work, and where do the roads seem paved with molasses?

Citi Bikes are pictured.

A Stark Comparison of Parking Vs. Bike-Share Spaces

Watch New Yorkers swarm a Citi Bike station like mad ants while cars sit virtually idle across the street.