Radical plan could turn Ward 13 into the thing they hate most: Uptown

Maybe you’ve heard there’s a plan to eliminate council seats and reduce the number wards in Minneapolis. I’m calling it the Southwest Minneapolis Power Grab. It’s a terrible idea.

But let’s run through the implications in map form. First the details:

What we have now (13 council members):

  • 13 wards, each represented by their own council member

Proposed change (9 council members):

  • 6 wards, each represented by their own council member
  • 3 at-large council members elected citywide

Cutting the number of city council wards from 13 to 6 results in some pretty drastic redrawing of ward boundaries. First of all, they get significantly larger. Wards get bigger on the map and they double in terms of population size. As an example, the Park Board has six districts — but the population of Minneapolis has grown pretty significantly since the Park Board map was drawn. A new map would need to shift towards areas of recent population growth.

To create a map of a hypothetical southwest Minneapolis ward, I divided the city’s current population (423,990) by six (70,665). Then I used a tool on mncompass.com to draw a map of southwest Minneapolis that includes roughly 70,500 people. This new ward map looks a lot like the Park Board’s District 6, with one big difference: it includes all of Uptown. The wards included are all of Ward 13, and parts of 7, 8, 10, and 11.

The bottom line: Ward 13 is going to feel really awkward about those bumper stickers on their cars that say they’re “Not Uptown” because the major population center of their new city council ward could, in fact, be Uptown.

Amateur demographer’s rendering of a hypothetical city council ward in southwest Minneapolis, under a new plan to cut the city from 13 wards down to 6.