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Just a Pathway

In this conversation with Raymond Demierre we see a glimpse of how space is slowly shaped by its users, bit by bit. Raymond has been working in the neighbourhood for several years. He has observed various users who come and go using the forest and the park for several activities - including collecting worms for fishing.

For him, the forest is literally a breath of fresh air that apartments in the neighbourhood benefit from. However, the forest is not simply a physical presence. It invites passersby to use it and is constantly molded by this use. An important expression of this process is the existence of pathways in a forest.

Historically, forests are full of pathways, formed by the feet of those who traverse its routes. They change directions, or they open up and close down with the different waves of functions that rise and fall at different points of time. When fences come in the way of the beat of users they block something vital. And it is often not enough to simply do away with an inconvenient fence or a grid.

Doing away with one does not create a gateway. What makes it is the act of coming and going. Allowing the forest to flourish goes hand in hand with the existence of multiple routes and small pathways. These are different from a large lane or road - which fixes the movements and eventually becomes part of a project of controlling them.

Raymond Demierre's distinction between the big lane or road and a walker's route is an interesting lesson in reminding us that a pathway is never 'just a pathway'.

Interview with Raymond Demierre, neighbor of the IFRC building.

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