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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

desire_path

Desire Paths

Design by planning vs design by doing. Desire paths are unplanned paths grown by the erosion of its use. They emerge as shortcuts where constructed pathways take a circuitous route. Perhaps one day, all our roads will be desire paths.

Discussion

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  1. chris

    Excellent. Christopher Alexander wrote about these, preferring to pave such paths after they appear, rather than dictating the one path for everyone to take.

  2. On QI (“Quite Interesting”) they mentioned a lovely name that park-designers have for people who walk in parks and create such “desire lines”. They call them “Meanderthalls” (sounds like a combination of “meander” and “Neanderthals”).

  3. @chris: Do you have a link. It is indeed interesting that they are entirely user generated, crowd based paths (to use some boomeranged metaphors)

  4. In Mike Kuniavsky’s book “Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design” he discusses the “desire line method”, which applies desire paths/lines to ubicomp design.

    As Chris already said, architect Christopher Alexander experimented with desire lines by first laying out buildings, then watching people wear desire lines between the buildings, then paving the lines in to formal paths. Kuniavsky cites “Alexander, C. (1975). The Oregon Experiment. New York: Oxford University Press” as the source.

  5. jurrian

    These have also been a topic of discussion in a Don Norman lecture a while back ( in the Designhuis, Eindhoven)

  6. John Date

    In fact, this is how CMU’s sidewalks were located: allowing the preferred paths to dictate the placement of sidewalks.

  7. natinja

    The desire path is what emerges when you put the ground of efficiency over the figure of leisure.

  8. JS

    http://www.olifantenpaadjes.nl/