We have spoken a lot over the years about the benefits of narrow and pedestrian-focused streets. Most recently, I even ran around Europe with a laser distance measuring device to collect a few field samples. Here’s an example from Marseille and here’s an example from Sicily.
But given all this, I think it is important to recognize that what happened in Seoul over the weekend — a deadly crowd crush that killed over 150 people — is both a horrible tragedy and a result of too many people in a narrow and pedestrian-focused street. So clearly there can be a flip side to what we talk about here. At the time of writing this post, investigations were still ongoing.
I am not a crowd-control expert, but I have spent time in dense Asian cities during major events and holidays, and never have I felt so claustrophobic. I have lined up for hours to get into subway stations and I have lined up to get into entire city districts — presumably because they were trying to avoid things like what happened this past weekend.
My heart goes out to all of the people and families that were impacted by this horrific incident.