New RIBA Publishing book Desire Lines motivates place-makers to create the spaces people really want

“Desire lines are those human-made paths where people reject the formal routes laid out for them and take the quickest way from A to B instead.”

“They often symbolise the lack of thought by designers and planners given to how actual humans navigate their environment, and a lack of care in making environments as human-friendly as possible.”

– Lesley Malone

Unapologetic and confident, Desire Lines argues for human-centred design and seeks to motivate place-makers to design spaces that people really want and need.

A practical guide covering evidence-based approaches that architects, urban designers and landscape architects can use to achieve design that aligns with people’s desire lines, this book will be useful and insightful to anyone in the business of designing public space, and an indispensable guide for those studying.

Working under the philosophy that community engagement should be a worthwhile and positive experience for all involved, Desire Lines centres the needs of the end user, and the value of community collaboration throughout the design process. It covers public consultations and how to run them, bringing social research principles to a wide range of engagement processes to help practitioners make the most of local knowledge and community experience for the benefit of design.

Providing direction for managing community participation, the book encourages designers to think like social researchers, an area in which author Lesley Malone specialises. It includes methodologies for gathering, analysing and interpreting information, examines different approaches for different projects and groups, effectively explains when and how to use surveys and quantitative methods, and discusses how to gather and analyse qualitative data. Desire Lines equips readers with essential practice guidance in an area that is rarely taught and is not covered in existing literature.

The book is available to order on the RIBA Bookshops website for £25.00. Order your copy here: