Geographically compact plans that are also politically fair — drawn by the public — serve as counter-examples disproving the contention that Democrats gerrymander themselves. In some cases, these plans were drawn by college students, showing that students teach can something to professors at the top universities.
Upon some reflection by anyone who has drawn a redistricting plan — and I’ve been a redistricting consultant in 14 states — geography is not really constraining on congressional redistricting. Congressional districts are very large. In moderate- to large-sized states they consist of over 700,000 persons. It is easy in all but the most densely-urban areas to combine urban, suburban, and rural voters within a compact district. And again, the plans implemented in the states with the largest urban centers are not responsible for the current partisan imbalance among the congressional plans.