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Van Wolputte, S. (2018). Desire Paths. Etnofoor 30 (1): 97-107


This story is about desire paths, about how people only rarely follow the designs imposed on them. You know, when a landscape architect or urban planner develops a park or something, within a few days you see that people take shortcuts, that they create their own bypasses and inroads. They simply don’t always walk where they are planned or supposed to walk, and do not always want what designers and planners want them to want. They step on the grass. In a figurative sense, desire paths may also refer to, for instance, the obstacle course skaters or parkour runners create when they draw their lines through a neighbourhood, or to the graffiti lines drawn on a wall. On an even more abstract plane the term refers to the often unforeseen way people deal with laws, authorities, and with urban designs and infrastructures, which urges these same authorities to come up with new laws and regulations to protect their designs. This is the fetishism of law or, as Graeber puts it, the utopia of rules…
Etnofoor, Stories, volume 30, issue 1, 2018, pp. 97-107
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