The organic or the arithmetic

Independent commissions and the redrawing of the UK's administrative maps

R. J. Johnston*, C. J. Pattie, D. J. Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Several elements of the administrative map of the UK were changed in the mid-1990s with the creation of new parliamentary constituencies and new unitary local authorities. The tasks of drawing-up the new maps involved resolving the tensions between two conflicting principles - those of efficiency (an 'arithmetic principle') and community representation ('an organic principle'). In the case of parliamentary constituencies, the task is entrusted to independent Commissions, as was the case also with local government reorganization in England. This paper discusses how those conflicts were resolved by the Commissions and the relationships between the outcomes and the Government's expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-349
Number of pages13
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1997


  • Constituencies
  • Independent Commissions
  • Local governments

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