Forum: Muddied tracks show people’s ‘lines of desire’

I refer to the letter, “Muddied tracks show lack of discipline in using paths” (Nov 18).

Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip’s photo shows what is known in design circles as lines of desire. They show the most accessible, convenient and desirable routes for the users – pedestrians in Whampoa – to navigate the space.

They can be thought of as saving the planners time and resources in doing studies and surveys in order to plot where to lay down paths.

Urban planning is for citizens, pedestrians and cyclists alike. People have a desire to get to their destination in the most accessible way possible.

The lack of usage of a path reflects the failings of designers and planners, not pedestrians.

This is why user research is important to improve the ease of use of everything around us, physical, as in this case, or digital.

Lines of desire should be embraced as information kindly provided by the people on the ground using the space. They are more relevant than the views of a planner who may have spent only a short amount of time surveying a site.

Sng Woei Shyong

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