After the construction crews pack up, after the fanfare of the grand opening, after the grass takes root and the dust settles, only then begins a quieter negotiation between designers and users of a public space. Look closely at the QDS and you’ll see small signs of evolution, as design ideals are confronted with day-to-day use.
Back in 2010, I posted a critique of a bike path that was only differentiated from the sidewalk by the shade of the grey paving stones. Dozens of Spacing Montreal readers commented about the potential dangers of this design. A year and a half later, the elegant paving stones have been painted over with more blatant indications for cyclists and pedestrians. Whether this came about after accidents, complaints, or simply as a matter of due course, it is evidence that, somewhere, a compromise has been struck between aesthetics and practicality.
Meanwhile, a desire path that was scuffed into the grassy public place at De Maisonneuve and Clark earlier this summer has been re-turfed.