desire line

variants: or desire path
plural desire lines or desire paths

Definition of desire line

: an unplanned route or path (such as one worn into a grassy surface by repeated foot traffic) that is used by pedestrians in preference to or in the absence of a designated alternative (such as a paved pathway) There's a concept in landscape architecture called a desire line. It refers to a path worn into the ground by foot traffic, in defiance of the planned curves of sidewalks and roadways.— Henry Grabar This is the authoritarian approach to erasing a desire line: block it off with some type of obstacle—a fence, a bush, a pile of brush, a sharply (if, in this case, politely) worded sign.— Robert Moor The proposed fence would not enclose the parking lot, only limit its use as a desire path.— Zachary Oren Smith

First Known Use of desire line

1993, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of desire line was in 1993

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Cite this Entry

“Desire line.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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