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May 2001


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Tue, 29 May 2001 16:07:03 -0400
"Classification, clustering, and phylogeny estimation" <[log in to unmask]>
Arthur J Kendall <[log in to unmask]>
"Classification, clustering, and phylogeny estimation" <[log in to unmask]>
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This would make a fascinating session at CSNA.

If it doesn't get to be one, I would like to hear what comes out of your search.

Check the census bureau for literature on redistricting in general.

One philospophical question would be whether districts should be maximally heterogeneous (like clusters in cluster sampling) or maximally homogeneous  - and on what criteria.

A google search for "census redistricting" comes up with 31,300 hits.

Iff memory serves, several years ago a woman from Brown  presented work on Voronoyi (sp) diagrams at CSNA.  She was at Census a few years later.

Some years ago Mel Janowitz sent me materials on reapportionment, that might be of interest. If He can't be reached, I'll try to dig them out.

I have the impression that NAS had some discussion on this in the 80's.

>>> [log in to unmask] 05/24/01 11:54PM >>>
To:       Subscribers to CLASS-L
From:   Stan Sclove, Secretary/Treasurer, CSNA

Are you aware of any studies applying clustering techniques to political
redistricting problems?
A colleague is interested in constraints on gerrymandering.

    I'm not sure simple solutions like requirements of convexity, or
restrictions on some measure of eccentricity would even be generally
    What would be needed would be a clustering of an arbitrary spatial
distribution into a given number of regions of equal membership, within a
given tolerance.
    The solution need not be unique. The politicians could fight over which
of the acceptable distributions would give them the best political
advantage. Unfortunately now the majority party is essentially
    Surely this problem must have been addressed. If not, maybe it could
easily be with existing methods.

     The colleague has looked into the parameters of a typical problem:
California has 5858 census tracts,
and the number of election districts runs from 40 (State
Senate) to 80 (State Assembly).
In the case of Congressional districts (60-ish in Calif.), the Supreme Court
has given a population tolerance of 1%.

    Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

-- stan