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Online Redistricting: Let Us Extend it Beyond Race

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  • I just took a tour through the on-line redistricting app, and took a look at the Mapservices it uses.

    All the attributes somehow pertain to raceThis encourages planners to create districts based solely on race.

    I would like to be able to geocode points, aggregate them into census polygons (blocks,tracts etc) and make those tables available to Redistricting Online.  For example, suppose a school district needs to re-draw their attendance zones.  They would do this by geocoding their students, and aggregate those students to census blocks.  The resulting table would be keyed by census block number, and would include attributes specified by the user.  For example, LunchProgram would indicate the number of students in the census block who particpate in the free lunch program. This would allow planners to draw lines to create socioeconomically balanced attendance zones.

    As a business partner, I would also like to be able to publish a geoprocessing tool so that it could be added to the UI of the geoprocessing app.  The GP tool would do things like analyze a plan to identify things like busy streets where kids would need to cross to get to school.

    Tags :
     redistricting, BAO, CA, Business Analyst, Business Analyst Online, Community Analyst
    Posted by   kirkktx  to ArcGIS OnlineBusiness AnalystEducation Jul 10, 2011

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Comments (4)


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jgenther 
Jul 2, 2012
I would like to see these types of districting tools included with CAO/BAO or add the capabilities reqeuested here to so that it could also be used for drawing sales territories or other type of territories as kirkktx is suggesting. The only other option for Esri customers is to use Business Analyst Desktop.


 
d_meyer 
Jul 14, 2011
Well to be fair, all of the VRA considerations do involve race. For most small jurisdictions, the reason you are doing redistricting, rather than holding at large elections, is to avoid a VRA-based lawsuit. Redistricting (and redistricting software) isn't cheap, but if there's a possibility that you might get sued, it's cheaper than legal fees.

For the use case you specificied in your comment, you can probably pretty easily accomplish this with the Districting for ArcGIS extension. Esri Redistricting, as I understand it, is a professional redistricting tool meant for civic engagement and to allow jurisdictions to receive community input on how best to draw the lines by offering a service for stakeholders (whether government employees, GIS pros, or citizens) to draw their own maps. Attendance zones wouldn't require that kind of engagement. On the other hand, redrawing school board districts would.

The ultimate irony, I think, with the VRA is that every stipulation refers to race, but one of the key stipulations is that "race cannot be the dominant factor" in a redistricting plan. So I think the inherent problem if you only have attributes about race in the Esri redistricting application and then use it to draw your plan is that you leave yourself open to a pretty solid argument that race was the predominant factor.


 
d_meyer 
Jul 14, 2011
Well to be fair, all of the VRA considerations do involve race. For most small jurisdictions, the reason you are doing redistricting, rather than holding at large elections, is to avoid a VRA-based lawsuit. Redistricting (and redistricting software) isn't cheap, but if there's a possibility that you might get sued, it's cheaper than legal fees.

For the use case you specificied in your comment, you can probably pretty easily accomplish this with the Districting for ArcGIS extension. Esri Redistricting, as I understand it, is a professional redistricting tool meant for civic engagement and to allow jurisdictions to receive community input on how best to draw the lines by offering a service for stakeholders (whether government employees, GIS pros, or citizens) to draw their own maps. Attendance zones wouldn't require that kind of engagement. On the other hand, redrawing school board districts would.

The ultimate irony, I think, with the VRA is that every stipulation refers to race, but one of the key stipulations is that "race cannot be the dominant factor" in a redistricting plan. So I think the inherent problem if you only have attributes about race in the Esri redistricting application and then use it to draw your plan is that you leave yourself open to a pretty solid argument that race was the predominant factor.


 
kirkktx 
Jul 11, 2011
Correction: "publish a geoprocessing tool so that it could be added to the UI of the redistricting app"


 

 

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