Friday, November 25, 2011

What should be the basis of drawing ward maps?

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Courtesy of The Pro Bono Thinking Society!
In starting this project, we hoped to answer the question: “What would the new ward map look like if it was drawn by a completely independent group with no skin in the game?”

We decided to look purely at total population data at the census tract level and ignore any data on race, socioeconomic status, or voting history. We found discussions of “white wards” and “hispanic wards” and “black wards” to be focused on a past that should no longer exist in the City of Chicago. A ward should be designed to represent a geographical community area within the city, not race. As the first Asian alderman, would anyone claim that Ameya Pawar of the north side 47th ward represents the Asian population of Chinatown? Would a white alderman representing Lakeview serve the same interests as a white alderman in Bridgeport? We felt it was time the redistricting process focused on clearly defined, compact wards that were based on intact census tracts rather than gerrymandered blocks.

Wards should be based on geographical boundaries (such as roads, waterways, public spaces), and general community areas, with the aim of being as compact and easily identifiable as possible. Wards should not be created based on race, political implications, or for the benefit of any individual or individual group. Using census tract level data helps achieve several of these objectives, as census tracts themselves are designed to be relatively compact and follow common sense boundaries:
“The Following Features are Preferred as Census Tract Boundaries for the 2010 Census:
c. Visible, perennial natural and cultural features, such as roads, shorelines, rivers, perennial streams and canals, railroad tracks, or above-ground high-tension power lines.” -Source
Another way to say that the politicians shouldn't be allowed draw their own maps.

At least with that map Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Roseland Heights will be in the 8th Ward. The 6th Ward would be Englewood. The 20th Ward would head further south probably to about 71st or 75th Street.

They should submit this map, but I just know that this map would make too much sense. Thus it probably won't go anywhere!

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