"Desire lines, also known as cow paths, pirate paths, social trails, kemonomichi (beast trails), chemins de l’âne (donkey paths), and Olifantenpad (elephant trails), can be found all over the city and all over the world, scarring pristine lawns and worming through forest undergrowth. They appear anywhere people want to walk, where no formal paths have been provided. (Sometimes they even appear despite the existence of formal paths, out of what seems to be sheer mulishness—or, perhaps, cowishness.) Some view them as evidence of pedestrians’ inability or unwillingness to do what they’re told; in the words of one academic journal, they “record collective disobedience.”Robert Moor, 'Tracing (and Erasing) New York's Lines of Desire.' The New Yorker, 2/20/2017.
Image by Richard Long: A Line Made by Walking, 1967.