7 February 2008

Waiting for the Right Moment

Despite the abscence of a zebra crossing, many people heading for the hospital wait patiently here for a hole in the traffic.

People are like rivers. They always seek out the easiest course. Sometimes even the best designers and urban planners get it wrong. What looks nice on paper may not work in practice.

Think about parks, for example. There are so often trodden, worn paths across the grass because the pathways don't go where people want to go.

I've always thought that cities should have a department that track where people walk/ride and change the infrastructure accordingly. Like putting a zebra crossing at this point in the photo above.

5 comments:

disgruntled commuter said...

I read somewhere that the tracks that appear across grass where the paths ought to have been are called 'pathways of desire'. Lovely phrase...

miketually said...

I first heard of desire lines, or desire paths, in Nicholas Crane's excellent book "Two Degrees West", in which he walks down the length of England within a 2km wide line (1km either side of 2 degrees west of the Greenwich Meridian).

There are some great resources online, showing where planners have tried to fight peoples' natural desires, or to use them to improve an area.

Lee said...

Yes, disgruntled I see that in NY all the time. I always say the designers should wait for a path to be worn through the grass and then build a walkway there!

Aaron said...

How do you think many, many roads were laid out? By following the wild game, goat and cow paths that came before

Zakkaliciousness said...

would be wonderful if modern architects and landscape designers followed the footsteps of those who use the terrain.