As the dust settles following the 2010 midterm elections, we're back to agonizing over the political nature of spatial relationships. Both sides are gearing up for the state-level redistricting fights that will occur with the arrival of data from the most recent nationwide census. Gerrymandering is the oldest geostatistical art, but it doesn't have a long history in the public eye. This could be intentional; dividing a republic into fair, representative districts is both a philosophical and a practical exercise, mind-boggling in its complexity. Small wonder that it becomes a game of party advantage, played by a select few.
Two recent projects have sought to shed some light on the process of redistricting:
- The Redistricting Game, produced by Annenberg Center for Communication and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It raises all sorts of insights about how the current process is tailor-made to reinforce partisanship, including this excellent point by David Winston, a former RNC mapping strategist:
" . . . When I, as a mapmaker, have more of an impact than the voters, the system is out of whack."
|From The Redistricting Game (USC, 2010)|
|Demo "Contiguous" Districts in North Carolina (D. Sparks, 2010)|
Geospatial technologies have proven to be essential tools for partisan demographic division in politics. In a representative democracy, how can spatial analysis be used to promote real representation?