Debate Magazine

Where Should the Sidewalks Go?

By Stevemiranda

My wife is a fitness instructor, and we were talking about a new gym opening near our home. The gym will be offering group exercise classes, but it plans to roll them out little by little, collecting feedback from members as they go.

This reminded of the (possibly apocryphal) story of the developer who would build expansive campuses but put down no sidewalks. He would just plant grass. Six months later, he would return and put sidewalks down where all the paths were worn. In this way, he assured that the pavement would be where the people were mostly likely to walk.

* * *

It’s so tempting to want to centrally manage people’s behavior. It appeals to the logical side of our brains. But, alas, human beings are complicated. Often it pays to listen more than to speak.

On Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, contestants who don’t know the answer can ask the studio audience, which collectively chooses the right answer every time.

When marketing guru Seth Godin was selecting a few lucky students to participate in his MBA program, he first invited all the applicants to a social event. Then as he mingled among them, he asked individuals to point out the most impressive people they’d met. The names that came up again and again were the ones he invited to enroll in the program.

There is wisdom in listening.

* * *

When PSCS teachers are trying to figure out what courses to offer, they start by listening. First, they write up course descriptions of classes they’d love to teach, offering perhaps twice as many classes as could possibly fit in one academic term. The students then prioritize the classes that are most important to them. A teacher might be really excited to teach a class in Newtonian physics, but if students would rather dissect frogs, then Dissection is what’s going to get on the schedule.

It’s simple really. We put in the sidewalks only after we know where pedestrians want to walk.

(Join the discussion at Get updates at

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Lace Up Pom Tree

    Lace Tree

    Without putting any much effort a summer dress can give us so much of goals from comfortability to enhancing our style to a new factor. If you're bored of the... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Chayanikarabha
  • How to Know This is the Right Book to Read

    Know This Right Book Read

    In the past, people had to make an effort in order to get ahold of books they were interested in reading. Nowadays, though, they have an entirely different... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Mariagrazia
  • Cheap Trick is Serving Pizza and Beer in Wicker Park

    Cheap Trick Serving Pizza Beer Wicker Park

    Greg Kot (left); Rick Nielsen (right) What’s more Chicago than pizza, beer and rock royalty all under one roof? You probably recognize Rick Nielsen as the... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
  • La Pinoz Pizza Offers Excellent Pizzas, Pastas, Tacos and More

    Pinoz Pizza Offers Excellent Pizzas, Pastas, Tacos More

    La Pinoz Pizza offers excellent pizzas, pasta, tacos, and more. But I feel there is a scope of some innovation and variation to, may be, attract a larger segmen... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Jaideep Khanduja
  • Planting Trees Will Not Slow Global Warming

    Planting Trees Will Slow Global Warming

    GR: There’s lots of loose talk going around about “geoengineering” our way out of the climate-change disaster. I say it’s loose talk because there’s been no... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Garry Rogers
  • The 3rd Annual Country LakeShake is Coming to Northerly Island

    Annual Country LakeShake Coming Northerly Island

    Grab Your Boots, Y’all! Tired of trekking to Wisconsin to enjoy a summer country music festival? Well, no shoes, no shirt, no problem, Chicago country music... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
  • Summer Decor Styling

    Summer Decor Styling

    This summer season I have chosen to keep my seasonal styling simplewith a wind of a coastal breezes.Air plants are even abundant in my decor right nowbecause I... Read more

    The 26 May 2017 by   Tamera Beardsley