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 protester manning a snack station in Oakland hands out free supplies on June 3.

To Sustain the Protests, They Brought Snacks

As mass demonstrations against police brutality fill U.S. cities, an informal network of mutual aid is handing out free food, face masks, and other supplies.

A participant holding a Defund Police sign at the protest in Brooklyn.

The Movement Behind LA's Decision to Cut Its Police Budget

As national protesters call for defunding police, a movement for anti-racist “people’s budgets” is spreading from LA to Nashville to Grand Rapids.

photo: A protester stands on a damaged bus stop near the Third Police Precinct on May 28 in Minneapolis during a protest over the death of George Floyd.

In Minneapolis and NYC, Bus Drivers Are Refusing to Drive Arrested Protesters

Transit unions are supporting members who have balked at assisting police during demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd.

photo: Empty seats are seen on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) train in downtown Dallas in April.

When Trump Tweets About Transit

President Donald Trump used Twitter to announce a spate of already-approved bus, commuter train, and light rail projects, many in politically strategic states.

A map of population density in Tokyo, circa 1926.

How to Detect the Distortions of Maps

All maps have biases. A new online exhibit explores the history of map distortions, from intentional propaganda to basic data literacy.

photo: Social-distancing stickers help elevator passengers at an IKEA store in Berlin.

Elevators Changed Cities. Will Coronavirus Change Elevators?

Fear of crowds in small spaces in the pandemic is spurring new norms and technological changes for the people-moving machines that make skyscrapers possible.

photo: an empty stretch of I-83 in Baltimore

How Will Americans Commute After Lockdowns End?

Will car traffic surge as lockdowns end, or will millions of Americans decide to bike, walk, or work from home permanently? Emerging research offers some hints.

photo: Hull-House founder Jane Addams in 1900.

How Women Reformers Saved the City 100 Years Ago

In the Progressive Era, reformers like Jane Addams understood the link between public health and urban poverty. Today’s leaders could learn a lot from them.

photo A San Francisco Muni rider considers the available transit options.

A Post-Pandemic Reality Check for Transit Boosters

After lockdowns ease, public transportation ridership in the U.S. is likely to remain low for years. But some see a way forward for a new understanding of transit’s role.

Collecting the Maps of the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the Library of Congress archives visuals about coronavirus, it is documenting a dramatic expansion in the forms and functions of maps — and their makers.

A pair of researchers sort case information as part of a treatment trial at the CAP Sant Felix medical center in Sabadell, Spain.

To Combat Coronavirus, Scientists Are Also Breaking Down Barriers

Covid-19 has triggered a boom in interdisciplinary research as physicians, public health experts, and environmental scientists team up to fight the pandemic.

photo: A passenger in Brooklyn waits for a subway train.

The New York Subway Got Caught in the Coronavirus Culture War

A paper claims that the nation’s largest transit system made NYC a Covid-19 hot spot. But experts say there are too many unknowns to link ridership to infection rates.

photo: A family walks down West 19th Street in Oakland, part of the city's "slow streets" network.

Drivers Not Wanted on Oakland’s ‘Slow Streets’

The California city isn’t the first to experiment with car restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic, but its plan to discourage drivers is the most extensive.

Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown

Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

photo: A bus driver in New Rochelle, New York, wears a protective mask.

Hit Hard by Covid-19, Transit Workers Call for Shutdowns

Bus drivers and subway workers are dying from coronavirus at an alarming rate, and transit union leaders are calling for aggressive action to make them safer.

photo: San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency employees turn an empty cable car in San Francisco on March 4.

As Coronavirus Quiets Streets, Some Cities Speed Road and Transit Fixes

With cities in lockdown and workplaces closed, the big drop in traffic and transit riders allows road repair and construction projects to rush forward.

Readers: Share Your Hand-Made Maps of Life Under Lockdown

As coronavirus transforms our private and public spaces, how would you map what your neighborhood and community look like now?

Traffic-free Times Square in New York City

Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

To help get essential workers around, cities are revising traffic patterns, suspending public transit fares, and making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

The Great Global Child Care Crisis

What's a parent to do when all of the schools and daycares suddenly close? For some workers in some places, options are starting to emerge.

photo: A waterfront park in Macau.

Longing for the Great Outdoors? Think Smaller.

Access to parks, nature, and wildlife is critical for physical and emotional well-being. Now some city dwellers sheltered at home must find it in new ways.  

photo: an empty street in NYC

What a Coronavirus Recovery Could Look Like

Urban resilience expert Michael Berkowitz shares ideas about how U.S. cities can come back stronger from the social and economic disruption of coronavirus.