Short Cuts on Campus

A desire path is a path that is created and usually represents the most sufficient and easy short cut route from one point to another. The path’s width can be determined according to how much traffic a path can receive. It can also be referred to as: desire line, game trail and social trail.

Natural areas and parks are threatened by desire paths. Studies have documented that 15 passages walking over a site can have a huge impact/damage and would be enough to create a trail. There are techniques that can help block the creation of the path, and it includes fences and signage.

Noticing this problem across our campus made me research about the topic more. I searched across the campus and tried to find the different areas that we have desire paths, and how did people help solve this problem.

One of the biggest problem areas in our campus is the grass area next to D2 building. Students tend to cross the green area to get from any other buildings to D2, and that created an obvious pathway. At some point, they had to put temporary fences across the area to let the grass recover and grow again.

Apart from that area, there are some other places that face the same problem. Some of them are located next to the stairs, where you can see the corners of the grass fading away due to people’s foot steps.


If the design was planned and executed correctly, we wouldn’t face these problems. Some areas are designed and purposely ask people to step on grass. There should be curves rather than shapes with angles.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.23.37 AM.png

A simple solution can start with a sign that would say “do not step on grass” next to the damaged areas. However, signs can be ineffective sometimes and wont stop people from doing the same mistake. So another permeant solution is to actually bury the grass and add blocks over it and actually create the desire path that people created for us.


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