Know Your Lines

0 Posted by - May 11, 2011 - Blog, Visual art

Know Your Lines

Last week’s federal election was a stark reminder to many urbanites here in Saskatchewan how the shape of an electoral district can have a significant impact on election results.

The province’s cities are carved up into pieces, each of which is lumped into a district dominated by wide swaths of rural prairie. The end result is that comparatively progressive urban voters end up being (mis)represented by social conservatives, generating a fair amount of resentment for both the electoral system and their rural counterparts.

There have been calls for redistricting in the province, much as there have been in jurisdictions across the continent where there is a perceived lack of fairness or balance to the current boundaries.

The redistricting process itself, however, is largely invisible, and leaves many unanswered questions: Who is drawing the lines? What does the shape of a district mean? And what does a good redistricting process look like?

These are precisely the questions being tackled by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in Know Your Lines, their latest issue of Making Policy Public, a series of foldout posters that use graphic design to explore and explain public policy.

Hot on the heels of the 2010 Census data dump, CUP’s new issue of Making Policy Public takes you behind the scenes of the largely invisible redistricting process in which politicians often get to choose their voters, instead of the other way around. […] CUP collaborated with the Brennan Center for Justice and design team We Have Photoshop to produce Know Your Lines, a fold-out poster on the ins and outs of redistricting and how to make it work better. If you care about political power, representation, or public policy, then you care about redistricting.

You can order a copy of Know Your Lines, or download a PDF of the brochure, at

If you’re in New York City, be sure to check out the launch event at McNally Jackson bookstore on May 18 at 7pm.

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