Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Draw your own City Council

A Philly tech firm believes you need a voice in this year's City Council redistricting process - and that you're smart enough to try drawing your own Council map.

Draw your own City Council

Once a decade, City Council changes something important. It re-draws the maps that dictate which Councilpeople represent which neighborhoods.

For every Philadelphia citizen, redistricting means one important voice that represents your street could change. But it can be a process that's more about politics than good government. Already this year, City Council has been criticized for not having enough public hearings on the process. (They are now having two.)

But a Philly tech firm believes you need a voice in this process - and that you're smart enough to try drawing your own City Council districts. Azavea has built a web site that allows you to propose which neighborhoods should go in which council districts. It even layers in the best practices around redistricting, helping you to build a Council map that distributes the votes fairly and prevents gerrymandering.

Try it out at www.fixphillydistricts.com, a project that is being supported by Azavea, Philly.com, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Penn Project for Civic Engagement and Newsworks. They are hosting a contest for the best-drawn district.

And if you need a little help getting started, Azavea is hosting a webinar tonight at 6:30 p.m. that explains the software. You can sign up for this free webinar here.

Seems like, even when public hearings are scarce, public involvement can happen - especially when Philly's tech community gets involved. Philly.com is proud to participate in this project, and we hope you will, too. If you are joining in, tell us by tweeting @phillydotcom.

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