Contest WinnersFixPhillyDistricts.com, the first web-based public redistricting contest ever held in Philadelphia, garnered 458 registered users who created over 1,200 plans. 31 plans were submitted for judging, and here are the winners!
The top scoring plan received a $500 cash prize. The 3 category winners received Amazon Kindles. Both the overall winner and the honorable mentions will receive a chance to present their plans before City Council in an upcoming public hearing.
Learn more about the judging criteria.
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Overall WinnerUser Name: jattan
Plan ID: 1152 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: Filadelfiafix
Narrative: My redistricting plan places a high value on compactness and community identity. Where necessary, I traded off opportunities for achieving even closer population parity in favor of creating districts that naturally fit Philadelphia’s geographical contours and neighborhood boundaries. The result is a plan that achieves an average district compactness score of 70.22% with just 21 ward splits, while having a population disparity of only 756 people between the most populous and least populous districts.
Many of my proposed districts can be described with a reasonable degree of accuracy by simply referring to commonly-understood geographical names: District 1 covers the River Wards, District 2 covers South Philadelphia, District 3 covers Southwest Philadelphia, District 4 covers West Philadelphia, East Falls and Strawberry Mansion, District 5 covers Center City and Lower North Philadelphia, Districts 6 and 10 together cover Northeast Philadelphia, District 7 covers Hunting Park and Eastern North Philadelphia, District 8 covers Northwest Philadelphia and District 9 covers Upper North Philadelphia and Olney-Oak Lane. With only a handful of exceptions, boundaries were drawn without splitting wards.
While respecting natural geographic and neighborhood boundaries, I also sought to avoid splitting racial and ethnic communities. My plan thus contains one district with a majority Hispanic voting age population. It also contains four districts with a majority Black voting age population. These results are consistent with the fact that the voting age population of Philadelphia as a whole is slightly more than one-tenth Hispanic and almost exactly four-tenths Black. No gerrymandering was required for these results. In fact, the proposed majority-Hispanic district is one of the most compact districts in my plan.
What I did not consider in developing my plan are either the current district boundaries or the home addresses of any incumbent (or nominated) City Council members. Consideration of such factors in redrawing our current, highly-gerrymandered districts can serve only to give an incumbent an undeserved electoral advantage or to eliminate a political threat. These are not legitimate goals. A redistricting plan should be based on politically-neutral and objectively-measurable criteria.
Equipopulation WinnerUser Name: Dogsled
Plan ID: 1000 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: Next Generation Plan
Narrative: The "Next Generation Plan" has sought to preserve the geographic integrity of neighborhoods while respecting natural boundaries, such as major arteries, creeks and the Schuylkill River. The two districts which are the most fundamentally altered are the 9th (which is moved entirely east of Broad St.) and the 1st (redesigned to include Center City, Powelton Village and the near river wards). This plan has also sought to make most districts more compact. In a handful of instances, jagged edges are employed to make all ten districts' populations virtually equal to one another.
On the political side, this plan respects the desire of the Hispanic community and others to achieve a true hispanic VAP-majority in the 7th district. Furthermore, this plan succeeds in preserving ward boundaries to a high degree.
Compactness WinnerUser Name: fmurphy
Plan ID: 1187 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: Compact 4
Narrative: In this plan we focused solely on compactness. In the process of developing this plan, we wound up splitting neighborhoods because the ward districts have such odd shapes and we needed straight boundaries by the Schwartzberg measure. In the PowerPoints on this webpage, we show how to modify this plan to better match the demographics of of Center City and South Philadelphia.
Ward Splits WinnerUser Name: stevecfl
Plan ID: 1243 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: City Council Districts by ward
Narrative: The Plan intends to focus on Natural Neighborhood connections. In addition, there is an effort here to reduce the fragmentation of Wards and attempt to eliminate gerrymandering. The Plan makes it so that voters and community activists in each of the individual Wards will have a single Council representative to work with on a wide range of issues. This also helps to empower the residents when they are organizing the community.
There were many challenges in balancing the number of voters in each District due to more population increases in certain geographical areas.
Honorable MentionUser Name: garypzielonis
Plan ID: 711 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: GPZ Plan submitted to contest
Narrative: My basic approach to any redistricting project is to first achieve the closest district populations to the ideal average (here 152,601). A total deviation of 161 persons is pretty close.
Contiguity, not including any single points, and compactness are absolute givens - within the context of precinct population distribution and the shape of individual voting districts. In Philadelphia, these are not real constraints with 1687 precincts and a fairly compact city environment.
Some of the districts in my plan are modeled on State Senate districts or groupings of State House districts. My knowledge of these allowed for the development of majority-minority districts and the grouping of communities of interest. There are distinct districts for South Philly, Southwest Philly, West Philly, Center City/University City, Roxborough/Chestnuthill, Germantown/Mt Airy, Richmond/Frankford/Lawndale, 2 in the far Northeast, and an Hispanic district right in the middle, in parts of Kensington/Juniata/Feltonville/Logan.
I had no knowledge of incumbent home addresses, so I was not attempting to protect anyone's home turf. Sometimes, being from from a distance allows you to stand back and see things from a different point of view. The courts have ruled that no candidate has a guaranteed right to run from a particular district.
I must admit that this is not my first experience with redistricting. In 1981, I was the chairperson of the first Erie County Council District Revision Commission after the 1976 Home Rule Charter was adopted. I testified at the 1991 public hearing, and at the 2002 public hearing I pointed out that the 1991 plan that had been in effect for 10 years was in fact flawed by a district that was not contiguous. I took the county to court for failure to act in the specified charter time frame, and the judge agreed that the alternative I offered in testimony should be the plan from 2003 to the present. The current Commission is presenting its recommendation on September 6, to keep the current districts in effect for the next 10 years. Personally, I will recommend swapping 2 voting districts between the largest and smallest districts, which will lower the total deviation range from over 2,000 to around 900 persons.
Honorable MentionUser Name: bonan
Plan ID: 1175 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: philadelphia_plan_ward+shape+race
In making and evaluating my plans, I have considered the following criteria:
- Geographic contiguity (guaranteed)
- Population equality (each district within 2.5% of its ideal population)
- Community of interest (preserving wards, university campuses, etc.)
- Minority voting rights (minority-majority districts)
- Compact shape (each district of a compact shape)
- Respecting natural borders (such as rivers, major streets, etc.)
The presented plan (out of many that I have designed) has achieved excellent scores on the above criteria:
- Each district's population is within 2.5% of its ideal population
- Preserves almost all wards (with only 5 wards divided)
- Achieves an excellent compactness score: 71.4%
The plan is particularly good in preserving minority’s voting rights. It has four black-majority districts (>50%), one strong Hispanic district (>40%, District 8), and a mixed-minority majority district (Black%=38%, Hispanic%=22%, and Asian%=14%, District 4). This mixed-minority district is important since it represents multiple minorities and also has the highest percentage of Asian population among all districts.
This plan also respects natural boundaries (barriers) such as rivers and highways, which the district boundaries tend to follow. For example, District 6 and District 2 are naturally separated by the river. District 6 and District 3 are also bordered at the river.
District 3 completely preserves the downtown area. District 6 covers the campuses of U Penn and Drexel.
I am very glad that this plan is able to incorporate and balance those important criteria and considerations. As you would imagine, however, it is not an easy task to produce such a plan. There are enormous (if not infinite) amount of possible plans. It is impossible to arrive at an excellent plan with a trial-and-error approach. I used two computer tools to help me design dozens of very good plans rather quickly. One tool is the iRedistrict software package, which is based on computational optimization algorithms to quickly design plans according to a set of chosen criteria by the user (me). The second tool is the online mapping tool provided on the fixphillydistricts.com, which allows me to make minor adjustments to the plans generated by iRedistrict.
I strongly feel that, given the right tools, anyone can participate and make important contributions to the redistricting process. I wish to thank the FixPhillyDistricts competition organizers and sponsors for promoting public participation in redistricting and for giving me this opportunity to voice my opinion and contribute my plan.
Honorable MentionUser Name: andy toy
Plan ID: 1182 | Download as PDF
Plan Name: apap
Narrative: We valued keeping communities of interest together, especially smaller underrepresented groups such as the Latino (7th CD is 50+%) and Asian Americans (9th is 14%, 1st is 12%). The Center City residents are no longer split 3 ways, only East of Broad and west of Broad. We only crossed the Schuylkill one time. We kept the 3rd CD all in West & Southwest Philly which have commonality.