Playgrounds over Paths
Today's standard design wisdom focuses on the design of linear paths. Sometimes they may branch, but they're ultimately a sequential set of steps towards a desired outcome.
Within complex systems, these paths often lack the flexibility to adapt to emergent conditions - users acting outside the "designed boundaries".
Instead of designing explicit paths, APD is oriented towards the design of playgrounds - limited spaces where the boundaries are defined by the mechanics of the system. Within these playgrounds, desire paths will naturally form based on different factors: cost, convenience, bounded rationality, etc.
Instead of designing the "center" and scripting how activities within it must unfold, it designs the periphery instead, leaving the center alone. It hopes to create a free space, that can accommodate the emergent behaviors of its users.
"What does it mean to publish a manifesto littered with sneering references to modernity and mediation—“screens loom[ing] large”—in, perhaps, what Benjamin would have called an attempt “to lay hold of the ‘true’ experience as opposed to the kind that manifests itself in the standardised, denatured life of the civilised masses”? What does it mean to take ordinary life—the plurivocal, ordinary, everyday activities of people—as an object of derision, a subject of reaction?" - Against the New Vitalism