Philadelphia City Council Redistricting

Why it matters: As the legislative branch of local government, the 17-member Philadelphia City Council has a critical role in the everyday lives of city residents. City council has the power to make laws that impact everything from healthcare access and housing to street maintenance and public safety. This includes the responsibility to review and approve the city's budget, which for 2021-2022 is more than $5 billion. But Council members---especially those representing individual districts---also play a role in listening to and elevating the concerns of communities, and providing assistance to residents who need help with navigating or accessing government services.

Now that new Census data was released on August 12, 2021, the Home Rule Charter (ie, the city's "constitution" that describes how government is put together) requires that City Council redraw boundaries for its ten district members. Council districts matter immensely for Philadelphians in determining who has voice in the political process and their ability to press Council members to address issues in their communities. According to the Census, the population of Philadelphia is now a little over 1.6 million, meaning that there should be roughly 160,000 residents per district.

Especially because redistricting has been rife with political mischief and abuse in the past, it is essential that residents across the city have an opportunity to engage directly in the map-making process and discuss with City Council members the community criteria and values that should be prioritized in the next Council map.

How you can get involved

CITYWIDE WORKSHOPS ON CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING
To learn more about the redistricting process and how residents in your community can participate, we welcome you to attend one of the virtual workshops scheduled in September. RSVP below!

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
Community Engagement Sessions are available for civic, community, and neighborhood groups and organizations throughout the 2021 Fall. These engagement sessions provide a basic overview of City Council redistricting and why it matters, followed by a discussion to generate public input for the redistricting process. In addition to gathering feedback on the current district boundaries, these sessions focus on exploring the local factors or issues that map makers should consider as they draw proposed council districts.

If you would like our staff to help facilitate a Community Engagement Session with your group or organization, please contact Pat Christmas at pchristmas@seventy.org.

PUBLIC SURVEY ON CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING
Individual city residents and organizations are encouraged to complete this survey to share what matters to them in the Council redistricting process. The results will be anonymized and shared with both officials in City Hall and members of the public who engage in map drawing. Survey respondents may also indicate if they would like their input to be shared with officials drawing state legislative and congressional districts covering Philadelphia.