Desire lines are the paths that people create through regular usage. They appear where people repeatedly choose to walk and usually signify a route from A to B that’s quicker than the formal path provided.

Often they indicate the mismatch between what local people want and what designers think people want.

‘Desire lines’ is a practical guide to running public consultations, participatory design and community engagement, to help practitioners make the most of local knowledge and insight.

It offers guidance on managing community participation, encouraging designers to start thinking like researchers.

By employing some social research basics in the design development process, placemakers can work more meaningfully with local communities. Which means understanding their needs and aspirations more fully, and meeting them more effectively.

‘Desire lines’ provides a toolkit for placemakers – architects, urban designers, landscape architects, and other professionals involved in the planning and design of the public realm – to do just that.


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About the author

I have a MSc in Social Research Methods, specialising in the public realm, and a career background in the built environment in a variety of research, information and communication roles. I now work as a freelance writer and consultant, focusing on research methods and human-centred participatory design for public space.

Contact me to discuss how we could work together.

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Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: RIBA Publishing, September 2018

Language: English

ISBN: 9781859467275

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