Desire lines


Subconsciously everyone uses them. Roads which are not designed, but created by everyday use. For several years, the term to express this phenomenon is named: “Olifantenpaadjes”, or in English: Desire lines.

This essay explains how the term “Olifantenpaadjes” is originated and explains different types and shapes of desire lines . Why do people have the desire of taking short cuts/ the non-existing routes? The shape of the short cuts reveal how people think about the existing routes and why they choose a specific moment to transfer to or to start a desire line.

The last part of the essay compares the two sides of desire lines. The supporters of taking short cuts want to cherish the self-made trails. While for urban designers, the ignorance of their designed roads can be a complete eyesore.

Desire lines, prevent or nurture?!