Desire Paths


Spotted from my hotel room today, in Canberra. From Wikipedia:

A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by animal or human footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width and amount of erosion of the line represents the amount of demand.

The concept of desire paths are also familiar in the user experience world too and I’m not the first or last to think of the information landscape as being like an urban space.

Often its just about having the right perspective to spot the desire path.

BTW A nice story of the intersection between the physical and information space (in this case, maps). Hat tip to Anne.

3 thoughts on “Desire Paths

  1. I realise this is an old post for you but I was just writing a post about desire paths and I was looking for pictures and found this. Just thought I’d mention that the hotel you were staying is where I live and that path has been there for absolutely years, nice choice.

  2. Glad you recognise both the picture and the perspective. I do like this image, but wish I had been quicker to grab my iphone as I could have taken a simple time lapse series of the women in the bottom left making her way along the path. Of course, you will understand the subtle irony of desire paths like this in such a planned city layout like Canberra. BTW I don’t really have old posts, more of a stack than a chronology. 🙂

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