The Freedom of Desire Paths

Recently, I’ve discovered the existence of “desire paths”.  A desire path is one that has been beaten down by passers-by who have decided that the urban planning of the area is less efficient than or inconvenient to their tastes. One such path can be seen just off of campus. As you walk down University Avenue West past the ion rails towards Farah Foods , you’ll see the muddied path the students before us have carved into the ground for their, and our, quickened access to the plaza. 

Desire paths are a testament to how urban planning can lack in its understanding of human will. We as people are very fond of finding the faster, more efficient way of doing things, highlighting the lack of necessity the straight lined planning holds in our lives. 

We were meant for broken patterns and crisscrossed lines. In urban living we find strict tracks with little variance when all of us would rather take even the smallest short-cut. I believe this shows a beautiful impatience that is representative of the lack of control any one thing can have on humans. Even when people sit in a boardroom and determine exactly how we should be living our lives and what should hypothetically be most efficient, in practice the civilians of the world can make small tweaks and cuts to suit the programmed world to our more jagged nature.

I find joy in the idea that something so simple as a desire path can suggest the freedom we have with our choices, the freedom to ignore the written rule. Humans will always choose to make their environment suit them rather than change themselves, which can be dangerous, but in the case of the desire path is just practical, efficient, and a little bit fun; grounding oneself in the grasses just to the side of a concrete path can feel cathartic… maybe even rebellious.

Maybe I’m dramatizing it, as it is just a beaten down patch of grass. But I feel as though it is representative of so much more. A path highlighting the true nature, the true desire of humans…

or rather, the quickest path to Farah’s slushy machine.

But you get what I mean. 

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