There are a number of valid fan-made maps of Panem out there and a lot of them are backed up by text from the books and lots of reasoning. However, there is a discussion I see come up very often when talking about the maps and locations in Panem. 

There are usually very separate standpoints on what the districts are like in Panem. Here are three common standpoints I’ve come across:

  • Large districts, encircling The Capitol and working their way out numerically before reaching District 12 (or 13). Usually, on maps like this, all of the districts are bordering each other.
  • Small, city sized districts placed very far apart from each other. There is a lot of space between districts for trains or arena locations.
  • Larger districts, with small villages within. The small villages are spaced from each other, but not bordered by fences. The districts are still touching each other.

One should note that Katniss was able to walk all the way across District 12 during a day. The reader is also told that District 12 is the smallest district. 

So I’m interested to hear what you all have to say on this. Is there a fan map out there that shows exactly what you think Panem looks like? Do you have anything to say on the options above? Or maybe a standpoint not stated? I want to hear your opinions! »Derek«

My only issue with a lot of the fan made maps [with the exception of V’s, which I think is about as perfect as it gets] is that they only include the United States, and completely exclude Canada. Katniss says that Panem is made up of what was remaining of North America, not just of the United States. [I apologize in advance, I don’t have my books with me to find exact quotes because my mum is reading them, atm.]

Maybe this only bothers me because I’m Canadian, but I think it’s still important that parts of Canada [at least some of Ontario, and the prairies, and possibly some of Alberta and British Columbia] to be included when mapping out Panem.

With the information about some of the District industries, it would make complete sense that they could fall somewhere in the boundaries of Canada. For instance, the industry of District 12 is mining. In the books, it is mostly coal mining that goes on in District 12, but I have a feeling that natural mineral resources other than coal would be required by the Capitol, in order to sustain their power and lifestyle.

In Northern Ontario, in places like Sudbury, mining is a huge industry [nickel mining, primarily, along with some other minerals], and certain areas of Northern Ontario [sometimes called the Canadian Shield] and parts of Québec and the Maritimes fall into the region of Appalachia, which Katniss tells us where Disctrict 12 lies. What I mean to say here, is that no one should count out the possibility of any of the Districts lying outside of the United States.

Being Canadian, I also am not quite as well versed in the industries of the different states, but I think that V’s placement of D12 is completely realistic.

Another great example of a perfect inclusion of Canada is V’s placement of District 7. D7’s industry as we find out in Catching Fire with the introduction of Johanna Mason, is Lumber. The lumber industry in Canada is HUUUUUUUGE. It is one of our most sought after exported commodities, and because Canada’s environment is so filled with forests, it would really not make sense to place D7 anywhere else. The placement of District 7 spanning across 5 provinces [West to East: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario] is so unbelievably realistic, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Long story short, thank you V and badguys for including Canada in Panem.

I would have to agree with what you said. In my opinion, including Canada and Mexico in the nation of Panem. I’ve seen a few maps that have D7 up through western Canada and I think that makes the most amount of sense. I’ve also seen a few maps that have D4 dipping down into the coast of Mexico. I think it’s important for a lot of readers to remember that North America is not just the USA. »Derek«

(Thank you!)

Not only Canada and the United States, but Mexico as well!  While Collins’ descriptions of how Panem was created (in THG) and travel across Panem (THG, CF, Mj) don’t actually align with any existing geographical hypotheses — it’s actually more likely that the lowland Deep South and the Midwest around the Great Lakes would be “taken by the encroaching seas” than any of the coasts, but we know that Katniss was able to travel overland from the Appalachians to the Rockies — it seemed important to represent as much of North America as we could.

Q&A with Suzanne Collins:

Q: How long would it take for North America to deteriorate into the world depicted in the books?

A: You’d have to allow for the collapse of civilization as we know it, the emergence of Panem, a rebellion, and seventy-four years of the Hunger Games. We’re talking triple digits.

Given the grand scheme of cultural collapse, anywhere from 200-999 years is absolutely believable for a nation like Panem to rise. However, it would take at least 300 years, on the best estimates, to see the major disaster or chain of disasters that come together to drastically change the orientation of North America. Therefore, in terms of the creation of the Panem map, we were more focused on the geological cataclysm – and it turns out that even “triple-digit” years is pretty short for the Earth to, literally, fall apart!

Only a few weeks after making the original map, the horrific earthquake and tsunami over Fukushima, Japan illustrated the fragility of human infrastructure. Katniss herself recounts geological catastrophe as a major part of the fall of North America:

“He tells the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land…” THG18

Since the three-book deal for The Hunger Games was signed to Scholastic in 2006, when the world was still reeling from the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, the 2004 tsunami at the Indian Ocean, record-low fatal freezing temperatures in Canada and the northern United States, and massive Pakistani earthquake, it is easy to see where all of our real-world events begin to be woven into Katniss’ story.

However, the missing piece is “the encroaching seas,” which is a common trope in scifi literature that takes place on Future Earths. One possible origin is the urban myth of “sinking California” – and that is, admittedly, what Meg and I used in making our original map of Panem. However, it’s more likely a combination of tectonic shifts in California causing tsunamis as well as global warming affecting the Atlantic that actually made the seas “encroach” on North America.

But really, either way, we decided that we were going to have to collapse the coasts of the United States, Mexico, and Canada enough to reduce landmass enough to result in “the brutal war for what little sustenance remained.”THG18 Combined with the racial tensions that drive much of Panem’s culture, for us, that meant most significantly reducing Mexico to create a futuristic border crisis. The polar ice melt would take care of much of Canada.

So, armed with frosting, ice cream, and overflowing love for Finnick Odair – as well as a mountain of research – we started making our map by looking at present-day North America.

The Sinking California theory is actually pretty much science fiction – which is okay, because so is The Hunger Games – but it does mean that we had a fair amount of leeway in how we wanted to pursue the various avenues of geological cataclysm. We decided to go with rational, but also clearly fictional, global warming scenarios as well.

First, an assumption about the timeframe of Panem: 400-500 years from the present. That allows for the 74 years of the Tessera-Games system, the First Rebellion, and a pre-existing Panem with District separation and Specialties to have been a full culture and begin its sociological and socioeconomic transformation (leading to said First Rebellion), probably another 60-100 years. So that’s already setting Panem in at least the 2200s. If you assume that one contributing factor to the fall of North America is the depletion of oil reserves worldwide, then we’re around 2300.

Here comes some of the encroaching seas theory: between 1900 and 2000, the ocean rose 6-8 inches due to global warming (a global temperature rise of ½° C). Supposing the same rate for those 300 years, that’s another 18-24 inches of oceanic rise.

At that rate of rise, coastal cities all over North America and the world would be at risk of sinking – kind of like Venice is sinking now, by a few inches each decade – with southernmost Florida, the Louisiana coastline at the Gulf, North Carolina’s Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula, along Chesapeake Bay, and Texas-Mexico east of Galveston being most at risk. Other threatened U.S. cities include New York/Newark, New Orleans, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Tampa-St Petersburg, and San Francisco. Part of the problem in those areas is that many millions of years ago, during the Ice Age, “around the periphery of where the glaciers sat, by contrast — places like Chesapeake Bay and the south of England — the land was actually squeezed upward during the Ice Age by the downward pressure nearby. The resulting ‘glacial forebulge’ has been sinking back ever since, also at an average rate of a few millimeters a year, so sea level rise is greater than average in these regions. And in some coastal areas — most notably along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana — the land is falling as well: Thanks to massive oil and gas extraction, the continental shelf is collapsing like a deflated balloon.” If we conjecture that Panem was indeed partially caused by the depletion of oil and gas, that leads to major problems to the Gulf area.

However, given what we know about D12 and D13’s location along the Appalachian mountain ridge and D11’s location in the Deep South, some adjustments had to be made for purely canonical reasons (and since most “rapid continental sinking” scenarios are scifi, that’s okay!)

Given the immense change in geography and political landscape, Panem most likely needed to recreate its entire infrastructure to accommodate its needs. The phi spiral would give each District the unique amount of space it would need to cultivate its Specialty without having so much room that pockets of dissent could form in “off-the-grid” communities (which is also why we did not leave massive amounts of space between the Districts. Like Katniss’ forest in D12, there is clearly fenced off “forbidden area” within the Districts themselves, not between them – aka, not outside of Capitol jurisdiction. Think of modern-day North America, where all of the land is held accountable to both state and government law even if it is not inhabited or even inhabitable.)

— V.

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    wearenotlonghere:thgdiscussion: Given the grand scheme of cultural collapse, anywhere from 200-999 years is absolutely...
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    wearenotlonghere:thgdiscussion: Given the grand scheme of cultural collapse, anywhere from 200-999 years is absolutely...
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    What are your thoughts? Let us know in the ASK!
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    My only issue with a lot of the fan made maps [with the exception of V’s, which I think is about as perfect as it gets]...
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