Saturday, March 26, 2005

I go this way

Councils, planners and designers should always remember to put paths where people are going to walk. How often do you see a lovely curved path that people just don't follow? People will do what people do. It is up to planners of such things to suit the people, not people adapt to what the planners think they should do. To a five year old, it would be obvious what people are going to do here in this pic. How much do these guys/gals get paid?


  1. Well from what I heard from a guy who was/is a town planner, they get paid a pretty penny and thats not to use logical thinking either in designing the many features that we see daily.

  2. Hi,

    I'm a Landscape Architect, and our profession are generally called upon to design what you have just commented upon. I actually don't get paid that much, just to clear that myth up. If I worked for a council, I'd get paid more, but I'd also be sacrificing any creative fibre for that extra money.

    That little grassed circle design probably looked great in plan, and at the time, the ammount of usage it recives was not envisaged. If there were no attempts to design interesting features into out lives (and if every desire-line was paved), we'd live in a bland, harsh, fully-paved & uniform environment, which would be a whole lot worse a place to live.

    That's all from me, m!key out.

  3. Good to get your perspective
    M!key. I like interesting designs and features that make our outdoor life a better and especially the use of area of grass combined with paving. People just love grass as is you can see at lunchtime on the library forecourt or the city square. Perhaps sad but true, whack in some mature deciduous trees and grass and people will love any park.

    The feature on the footpath now is very many years old and I hope designs like that would not happen today. If the circle was three bluestone blocks high, then only the most determined would cut across. Plus, it would be high enough to sit on. As it is the St Kilda Beach foreshore, I think the traffic was predictable. Sometimes you will see some remedial work, such as the two green poles in the picture which did have a chain across. Another comes to mind in St Kilda Rd, St Kilda where there is an office block on a street corner with grass in front and then later a path was put in because people just cut the corner.

    My real point is that the first question a designer should ask themselves, is how people will use and interact with the design. Sometimes there will be some matters that can't be expected, but mostly they can be predicted.

  4. I have to agree with you in this case Andrew, and I think that you're right - a seating wall would have made the space a whole lot more usable and also avoided the pedestrian cut-through.

    The idea of the bluestone wall probably wasn't thought of at the time, but with sand blowing in and significantly raising the level of the grass (which would have been flush with the single bluestone) it has become more aparant that it would be a desirable solution.

    I can only surmise that the designer (whoever they were) underestimated the general publics desire to walk a straight line in this case. I know that the times that I have walked along the foreshore I do take the right-hand side of the circle, and have never found it a hardship. Another solution would be to offset the circle so that there was a more direct path to one side.

    On coffee: I use 100g a week (give or take) and so at $24 a kilo, that's $2.40. Yo'd use more with two people, but it's still surprisingly cheap.

    Not that I don't go to cafes: mty favourite (Cafe Racer: gret magazinbes and seating outside) is just down, and acroos the Esplanade from where your photo was taken

    cheers, m!key.


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.