Laura Bliss

Laura Bliss

Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Sierra, GOOD, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, including in the book The Future of Transportation.

photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.

The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

photo: a woman on an electric scooter

Most Electric Scooter Riders Are Men. Here's Why.

Most users of micromobility devices like dockless scooters and e-bikes are young men. Fixing that gender gap may take more than just adding safety features.

MapLab: The Power of Counter-Maps

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

What Happens When a City Tries to End Traffic Deaths

Several years into a ten-year “Vision Zero” target, some cities that took on a radical safety challenge are seeing traffic fatalities go up.

photo: Chris Burden's "Urban Light," installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, features several of L.A.'s historic streetlight styles.

The Future of the Streetlight Might Be in the Past

A new competition from the L.A. mayor’s office invites designers to reimagine the rich history of civic illumination and create next-generation streetlights.

MapLab: Killer Apps

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.

Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

MapLab: Census, Sense Us

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and California Governor Gavin Newsom look at a map of San Jose

What’s Missing From Apple’s $2.5 Billion Housing Plan

Apple is the latest tech giant to commit funds to California’s housing crisis. But experts say the largest barrier to housing is not money; it's political will.

Photo: Media members report on a burning home as a firefighter douses flames during the Hillside fire in the North Park neighborhood of San Bernardino, California on October 31, 2019.

California’s Wildfires Are Not a Morality Tale

The fire-scorched state’s history has long been marked by calamities. But its latest disaster did not come to teach Californians a lesson.

photo: A man pushes a stroller through a crosswalk after dusk in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s Getting Riskier to Walk and Bike After Dark

The last decade has seen a gruesome rise in nighttime traffic fatalities for walkers and bike riders, with no conclusive explanation.

a photo of Jump e-bikes

Uber’s Beef With L.A. Is Bigger Than Data

The ride-hailing giant is convinced that L.A.’s data-tracking tool is violating state privacy laws. But the stakes for its business go further.

photo: A firefighter works to clear a house destroyed by a wildfire in Los Angeles.

California Contemplates a Dark and Fiery Future

A fresh round of wind-fanned wildfires and planned power outages is darkening the fate of Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest electric power utility.

An Alabama fan celebrates during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Inside the College Football Game-Day Housing Boom

Game-day housing demands are driving up rents, hollowing out neighborhoods, and stoking the real estate market for second homes aimed at alumni fans.

MapLab: High on Lidar

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

a photo of a semi-autonomous dockless scooter

One Way to Keep the Sidewalk Clear: Remote-Controlled Scooter-Bots

A new mobility technology company called Tortoise promises to bring semi-autonomous scooters and e-bikes to market. Why?

A Micromobility Experiment in Pittsburgh Aims to Get People Out of Their Cars

The Pittsburgh Micromobility Collective will create all-in-one mobility hubs near transit stops, to compete with Uber and Lyft and help commuters go car-free.

MapLab: Life on Shaky Ground

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

a photo of a Bay Area Voom helicopter

The Urban Helicopter Dream Is Rising Again

Voom, a new and more “affordable” aerial taxi service, has launched in the Bay Area, with a promise to democratize a mobility mode with an elite reputation.

a photo of smoggy Fresno, California.

The Home of California’s Dirtiest Air Braces for Trump’s Smog War

As the EPA threatens to pull the state’s highway funding over air quality, Central Valley residents fear the dispute could render their region even more polluted.