Claire Koessler, Haley Barletta and Molly Kennedy (Mercyhurst University) - PA Senate Semifinalist

Personal Statement

The circumstances that promote a healthy democracy are those that build communal relations and promote local participation. We focused on issues that have created a decline in participatory democracy like those highlighted in Ernest Burgess's Concentric Zone Model. To combat with these harmful migration patterns, we have developed a pinwheel model to create legislative districts around cities like Pittsburgh. Each of the five legislative districts in Allegheny county make a pinwheel with the intention of breaking the concentric zone barriers that decrease local democratic participation. In building the proper circumstances for democracy to operate in these districts, we also intend to further redevelop associations. Robert Putnum expands on the importance of secondary associations as they bring social trust that will further benefit the democratic process at the local and national level. Social trust has greatly declined since the days Alexis de Tocqueville observed America's democracy. This map attempts to build an environment capable of developing strong associations to save the democracy that Alexis de Tocqueville once praised.