May 2, 2006

Desire paths

A desire path is the informal and shortest route between two points. Landscape designers and maintenance staff erase desire paths and install barriers to deter use. I discovered a classic example of this on the UC Berkeley campus. In this case, the original desire path was re-seeded and fenced (right side of image). But, a second desire path was created adjacent to the enclosure (left side of image). The attempt to restore the grass on the original path has only made other areas look "greener," i.e. the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. UC Berkeley campus Photograph by local Ecology (localecology.org) Note: italicized text was added on 2 May 2006.

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