The New York City Districting Commission today released a customized New York City-version of DistrictR, an online mapping tool.
Which will allow New Yorkers to draw their own City Council Districts — and submit their drawings to the Commission as their public testimony.
“This is a big step forward in digital democracy,” said Commission Chair Dennis Walcott. “Never before have New Yorkers had this kind of opportunity for full participation in the mapmaking process.”
The City is in the middle of the mapmaking process. A new City Council plan is drawn every ten years following the U.S. Census to bring the city into compliance with the Constitutional doctrine of one person, one vote, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the charter of the City of New York.
DistrictR, accessible through the Commission’s website at nyc.gov/districting, allows individuals to draw maps like the city’s mapmakers do.
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The software gives every New Yorker access to data and mapping capabilities like those used by the Commission.
This includes population data, census blocks, citizen voting age population data by race, existing Council district lines, Community Board boundaries, and the new five percent population deviation legal requirement. This was created by the city’s mapmakers: Redistricting Partners
The city’s population grew 8.2 million in 2010 to 8.8 million in 2020, according to the Census, an increase the size of the city of Detroit.
To reflect this growth and bring the city in line with federal, state, and local laws the new preliminary plan raises the average number of residents per City Council district from 160,710 to 172,882.
These parameters are built into DistrictR.
The independent District Commission voted on the Preliminary Plan on Friday, July 15th, 2022, after receiving public testimony from nearly 500 city residents at public hearings held from May through June in each of the five boroughs.
Testimony was heard in person and received via Zoom and by email. The Commission also meets with advocates and stakeholders.
These maps are available for public review and comment online at nyc.gov/districting.
Next, the Commission will hold another five hearings in each of the boroughs to get more public testimony on the Preliminary Plan. The hearings are scheduled for August 16, 17, 18, 21 and 22, 2022.
Testimony may be provided via Zoom, in person during the public hearings, and by email at PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov, and by mail at NYC Districting Commission, 253Broadway, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10007.
The public can submit their DistrictR maps to the Commission by simply hitting “save” on DistrictR and emailing their maps to the Commission at PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov.
The final maps are anticipated to be completed by December 2022.