Crowd control then and now

Here’s a scary video of a crowd collapse, i.e. people packed too tightly at a stadium such that, when one person falls over, they all fall over. The knock-down is toward the end, maybe 2 minutes in.  The video is part of my colleague Scott Berinato’s look at crowd control. They’ve got it all down to a science – exactly how much space people need seated or walking; what geometries facilitate crowd flow; what type of music to play before and after a sporting event; what kind of signage works or doesn’t.

That’s no surprise, though I find the details fascinating.

What is perhaps more surprising is that people in ancient times already had it down to a science. The stadium in Pompeii seated 30,000 and could be emptied completely in ten minutes. In fact, Pompeii was better designed than most modern stadia, which of course have cut corners, so to speak, for commercial reasons.

Do I not work for a cool publication? I do.