I’ve mapped “desire lines” in the Cass Corridor, but always balked at taking the effort citywide. Now I don’t have to and can shout out the work of Alec Foster and Joshua Newell who found 5,680 footpaths totaling over 150 miles in the city. In there recently published study:
“Informal footpaths known as desire lines crisscross the city of Detroit and are visible from space. Despite their prevalence, especially in postindustrial cities, no comprehensive study of desire lines exists for any urban area.”
They recommend working with residents to preserve desire lines and footpaths and note that in their study area of the Lower Eastside, nearly 70% of all desire lines disappeared in just 6 years.