Maps have power. They can make the illegible legible and the invisible visible. They can make the obvious even more obvious and the impossible seem possible, as a map published in 2012 did when it mapped the routes of the private buses that ferry techies between their homes in San Francisco and their jobs in Silicon Valley. It shows that tech companies, in their libertarian, do-it-yourself way, have solved the transit problem for themselves, not waiting for a potentially time-consuming, representative political process to do the job. That, the author argues, shows a failure of belief in the city as a commons, a city that supports existing residents and new arrivals by integrating them into the collective spaces and systems perhaps best represented by public transportation. That there are entire networks of free transit options available to only some of the city’s wealthiest residents cannot help but create tension, especially against a background of skyrocketing housing costs and a wave of no-fault evictions.
This article contemplates the way Northern and Southern California have been used in science fiction films since the 1970s. Continuing a trend the author traces to the 1940s novels Earth Abides and Ape and Essence , Northern California represents possible utopian futures while Southern California represents dystopia. The article includes a photo essay featuring science fiction film stills held up against their filming locations in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.