Nest City News - Where is your desire line?

Published: Fri, 01/30/15

Hi -
There's a wee story about my city planner friend Nola to the right. Here's a hot tip she has for life in the desire line:

for what you need

Without knowing, she offered this principle of working in circle. The second part is:

what you can

She did both. She asked for help along the way, and she offered her full self to her work. 

Winter is a season to pause and reflect on what has heart and meaning. It is a season to notice what your soul desires is calling you to do. It is a time to notice your desire line. 

Cheers to you all :)

Beth Sanders

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June 8-14, 2015
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
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With Christina Baldwin, Ann Linnea, and Katharine Weinmann

Sept 30-Oct 4, 2015
Strawberry Creek Lodge
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Where is your desire line?
Follow your desire
and the whole city will benefit. 

Thank you, Nola, for stepping out into the snow to show us where you are, so we can follow you. What you do matters, because the work we choose creates our cities. We help our cities evolve, which is a necessary survival skill
Designers of the built environment (landscape architects, architects and engineers) have a name for the phenomenon where people take a route in total disregard for the "official" route. It's the dirt trail through a grass field, or the path you see through the snow. It's not the path designers thought made the most sense; its the path that is truly where people want to travel.

The desire line is clear to see. 
Everywhere we go, we are confronted with decisions about whether we should stay on the 'official' path, or travel where it makes the most sense. There are people along the way who tell us to stay on the path. Guilt us to stay on the path. Give us the evil eye. Even when they are not physically there, their voices are in our heads telling us to stay on the path we are 'supposed' to be on. 

The path you should be on is the path you desire. 

Nola Kilmartin is a planner friend of mine. She spotted an write the design guidelines to implement the City of Edmonton winter city strategy - For the Love of Winter. Her job was to take the big ideas and future out how they would work in reality on our streets and parks and open spaces. She loves winter and she loves urban design. She jumped on the opportunity to take her desire line. 
When there are many people around you sticking to the official path, it is not easy to step off onto the desire line. This can't have been an easy project for Nola. I know she had the support of key people around her or this project would not have reached completion. I also trust that people all around her would have been wondering what she was doing, would it really work, was she doing the work she ought to be doing.  

Today, at the Winter Cities Shake-Up conference here in Edmonton, with folks attending from 52 cities and 12 countries, she heard that the path she is on makes perfect sense. 

Her desire line was their desire line too.

After seeing the trail, they will follow. That's how desire lines work. In the summer, you can't even see that someone has been on the trail the same trail as you. In the winter, you see if you have the first set of tracks in the snow, or the second, and it can be tough going. Once many have followed their desire line, it becomes not only clear, but inviting.  

This is how work works (very explicitly in Nola's case): 

Follow your desire and the whole city will benefit.
In fact, many cities will benefit. 

Thank you, Nola, for stepping out into the snow to show us where you are, so we can follow you.