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