Public Places in Cities

Public places in crowded urban environments have many challenges. From safety, to difficulty of movement, public spaces present us with a unique microcosm of things we need to negotiate and deal with. Large gatherings of people tend to attract many things, including some that are bad, very bad. We need to remain aware and move through those areas fast.

So, how can you make sure you have an easier, safer commute in this environment?

  • Understand when those public locations are the most crowded. When it’s rush hour. If you can, avoid these places then.
  • If you can’t avoid them, move fluidly and don’t linger, unless you have to.
  • Going light and fast will allow you to move faster through an area, and maybe to safety. Learn to be light and fluid.
  • Don’t attract attention to yourself. Remain neutral both in posture and in colors (clothing). Don’t display flashy items like expensive jewelry and brands. Think about the "51% rule": what 51% if the people in a crowd are doing, mimic that until you can move out.
  • Try to remain on the periphery of the area. Try not to go through the main areas or central points of the public places. Avoid things like the information booth at a main train station, for example, or its main hall. Go straight for your track or bus stop, and take the route that both provides the least amount of people, and the most cover.
  • Smile. If you smile and people see you are friendly, they will leave you alone.

In short, public places are almost always unavoidable while living or visiting a city. That is ok. However, make sure you have a good understanding of what normal looks like, and of what can go wrong.

Each place has its own pace and patterns of life. The sooner you can learn that “normal”, the sooner you’ll be able to detect things that deviate from this, giving you the edge to react and adapt to a possible threat, or a developing one. This is particularly true in public locations, where things tend to develop organically, and can get chaotic very, very quickly.

Be smart, remain low key, and move quickly through the public places.