Monday, March 11, 2013

Walkways, Footpaths and Desire Lines

When walking through cities and towns, I'm thankful for sidewalks. Seems we take them for granted sometimes. Footpaths are good, and pavements -- as some other English speaking folks call them. They are public and social spaces, with some responsibility assigned to the denizens of adjoining buildings or houses for their care and well-being. Sidewalks make the streets safer -- it's harder for cars to hit pedestrians when there's a curb or strip between streets and walkways.

The Romans laid it down quite a little while ago -- as did the Inca.

Here's an example of the "poetics of space." People use the walkways, but they also make shortcuts along "desire lines," creating "desire paths." I use these shortcuts myself a lot of times if the regularly laid out ones (as on a college campus) seem too inefficient and time's running short.

Along similar lines, this looks promising: Fernando Núñez, Carlos Arvizu, Ramón Abonce & Malcolm Malcolm Quantrill, Space and Place in the Mexican Landscape: The Evolution of a Colonial City (Studies in Architecture and Culture) (2007).

Today's Rune:


Charles Gramlich said...

I end up taking the "desire" short cuts at times because I walk faster than almost everyone around me and can't get past people on the sidewalks themselves.

jodi said...

Erik, I love a sidewalk, walking city. I wish we had sidewalks so I could have more trick or treaters!