Madison has begun the process of redrawing Common Council districts based on the 2010 census.
ith a population slightly above 233,000, says city planner Brian Grady, the city will seek to keep all 20 districts at about 11,660 people. That means districts that have grown in population must shrink in size; others will have to grow.
The census map (PDF) shows that Madison's downtown area and the city's peripheral areas on both the east and west have grown the most. Ald. Mike Verveer's downtown district needs to shed 2,267 people, while Ald. Bridget Maniaci's district on the near east side needs to gain 2,605 residents.
Districts currently represented by Lauren Cnare, Joe Clausius, Judy Compton, Paul Skidmore, Jed Sanborn and Steve King also must shrink.
Dane County takes the lead on redistricting, drawing tentative boundaries for county supervisors, expected by the end of May. The city will then take this map and redraw wards - "the building blocks" of every district, Grady says. This is expected to be done by the end of July.
In reshaping districts, Grady says the city tries to preserve "natural boundaries," honoring major roadways, environmental corridors and communities of interest, such as neighborhood groups.
But even within these guidelines, different outcomes are possible. Says Grady, "Some call it more of an art than a science because there's so many different ways you could take this."