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School Redistricting: Embedding GIS Tools with Integer Programming

F. Caro, T. Shirabe, M. Guignard and A. Weintraub
The Journal of the Operational Research Society
Vol. 55, No. 8 (Aug., 2004), pp. 836-849
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4101811
Page Count: 14
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School Redistricting: Embedding GIS Tools with Integer Programming
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Abstract

The paper deals with a school redistricting problem in which blocks of a city must be assigned to schools according to diverse criteria. Previous approaches are reviewed and some desired properties of a good school districting plan are established. An optimization model together with a geographic information system environment are then proposed for finding a solution that satisfies these properties. A prototype of the system is described, some implementation issues are discussed, and two real-life examples from the city of Philadelphia are studied, one corresponding to a relatively easy to solve problem, and the other to a much harder one. The trade-offs in the solutions are analysed and feasibility questions are discussed. The results of the study strongly suggest that ill-defined spatial problems, such as school redistricting, can be addressed effectively by an interaction between objective analysis and subjective judgement.

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