Although early “yard” and “street” sites have already been identified for maintenance experiments, “park” sites suitable for guerilla landscaping hadn’t yet been chosen. I visited a few sites around town and was reminded again of the importance of desire as an act of generative maintenance—most notably in the creation of paths as the often fetishized “desire line.” Park use is most visibly a design instrument in German parks such as Naturpark Südgelände in Berlin where successional landscapes rise around railway tracks and trampled ground, foregrounding the urban ecology of ferns, bees, funghi, lead, crickets, birds and steel grating. More than 2600 parcels are cultivated as “maintenance gardens” by clubs such as Old Goats Grazing, Hilarity, Sunbath and Lime Grove.
The American park context more often contains colonies united under sports, vegetables or dogs, however by interpreting desire as a maintenance instrument, we can uncover a diversity of alliances that might not be immediately apparent. Upon inspecting a particular system of desire lines in Washington Park more closely, an unlikely alliance of VDOT technicians, child explorers and coyotes emerge, all sharing the same paths along an eroded, culverted, ivy-covered stream. To understand this path maintenance we might as well look to the stream, which somehow in all its anonymity has successfully aggregated this motley crew as it finds its way down to the ocean.