Azavea Atlas

Maps, geography and the web

Redistricting Top 10: NJ-06 (6)

NJ-6 is #6! This is the second district from New Jersey to make our Top Ten list of least compact congressional districts. What’s up with the Garden State?

Check out this 2006 article in Slate, which tells the story of New Jersey’s Great Bipartisan Gerrymander. Key concept: “…the problem in Congress isn’t just the politicians, but also the process that put them in office.”

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New Jersey's 6th Congressional District: The 6th least compact U.S. House District

For more juicy stories and powerful stats about redistricting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (with a focus on our home city of Philadelphia), check out Redistricting the Philadelphia Region. It’s a taste of what you’ll find in our broader Redistricting the Nation site, launching on October 21.

Redistricting Top 10: NY-08 (7)

As office-bound data geeks, we seldom get to do fieldwork. But last Thursday we had the pleasure of visiting New York’s 8th Congressional District — #7 on our list of least compact congressional districts. We were at the offices of the Green Film Company in Chelsea, being interviewed for a new documentary about gerrymandering. (Big thanks to Jeff, Susan, and Gary for all their great questions about maps and politics. We hope their film travels far!)

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New York's 8th Congressional District: The 7th least compact U.S. House district

NY-8 is an urban gem. While the district appears contiguous in the image above, it’s really divided across two separate land masses — the northern part of the district stretches from the Upper West Side to the tip of Manhattan; the southern part skips along the edge of Brooklyn to pick up parts of the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island.  Physical geography played a role in the creation of this two-part district, but a bigger driving force was the desire of legislators to consolidate the Hispanic vote in neighboring NY-12.

We plan to pick up the pace of our Top Ten countdown over the next several days. The October 21 launch of Redistricting the Nation is fast approaching. Like the crew of the Gerrymandering movie, we’re working down to the wire. Good luck to all of us!

Redistricting Top 10: FL-3 (8)

Redistricting the Nation kicks off in just a few short weeks, and boy are we excited. It’s the same kind of spine-tingling anticipation we feel leading up to a big game. A really big game. Like the 2006 Penn State-Florida State showdown. The Sunshine State is on our minds again as we countdown the ten most gerrymandered congressional districts. Florida’s Third Congressional District — a classic example of racial gerrymandering — comes in just eight ticks from the end zone.

Florida's Third Congressional District: The 8th least compact U.S. House district

Florida's Third Congressional District: The 8th least compact U.S. House district

FL-3 — created by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats after the 1990 census — starts in Jacksonville and pulls in African-American communities from Gainesville, Palatka, and Sanford as it moves south to the Orlando suburbs. It’s difficult to say what this district looks like because it’s so oddly shaped. But “flying squirrel, plunging downward head first” comes to mind, as does “mangled alien.” One colleague says that FL-3 reminds her of her toddler’s Ugly Doll, right down to the missing antenna, torn off during a rough-and-tumble play date.

Stay tuned for more countdown highlights later this week. Redistricting the Nation will launch on October 21.