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A Planner’s Approach to City Redistricting

Yesterday, shortly after the commission advising Buffalo’s Common Council on redistricting submitted its recommendations to the City Clerk, one of the members of that commission, Russell Weaver, and a community activist, Terrence Robinson, submitted an alternate plan that takes a novel approach to designing legislative districts.

Rather than being guided by traditional political boundaries and considerations, Weaver and Robinson’s plan uses planning districts, as already recognized and used by the city’s Office of Strategic Planning, as the building blocks for districts. Doing so, they argue, removes incumbent political interests from the redistricting process and imbues the city’s governmental organization with a logic that will facilitate planning and projects, both locally and citywide.

Anyway, here’s the entire proposal. Russell and Weaver have stuck with the current, nine-district configuration, but the districts are somewhat different than the proposal put forth by the advisory commission, which looks like this.

There is a a public hearing on redistricting in Common Council chambers, on the 13th floor of City Hall, this evening, at 5:30pm.

  • Ted

    From a first glance, the proposed plan in this article leaves 2 rich districts – north and Elmwood, and various degrees of impoverishment for everyone else. The net impoverishment of the Northeast (now University) by cleaving off the area from Main/Hertel to Starin and north towrds the track is quite noticdable. While not rich by national standards, it is by Buffalo standards, with close to full occupancy housing and reasonable, stable housing prices/occupancy by a “middle class” income distibution population.

    Politics is also related to income and education level, and when income and wealth is concentrated in the North/Elmwood, and lack odf wealth/income is concentrated in others, real political and social power is also concentrated and so is it’s opposite. It would be interresting if this legislative redistricting was done with the goals of also minimizing income, abandoned housing(property values per acre might be a proxy for this) and wealth. Not that that would ever happen. Anyway, as one living in the Univerrsity District, instead of being a partly middle class partly poor area we become almost completely poor, while a trace of wealth contentrated in the very NE tip (and where the Councilperson lives, too – just a coincindence) remains. This wil further drastically decline whatever say we have in things, as well as have any say in keeping the Univ of Buffalo where it is (at enormous taxpayer savings running into the several billions), as well as keeping a population with a fairly high education level (who says rich = smart, just look at the likes of Carl Paladino or the Buffalo Niagara Partnership that that does not apply).

    Oh well, so much for this 2cents worth.