10KSA Human Chain Event

Saudi Arabia

Saturday 12 December 2015 was a historic day for Saudi Arabia, as 10,000 women from across the Kingdom joined together to raise awareness of breast cancer by attempting to gain a new world record for the longest human ribbon.

The venue for the 10KSA event was Princess Nora University in Riyadh and, in honour of such a momentous occasion, our client wanted to create a celebratory Olympic village atmosphere combining education, entertainment, art and culture. Buro Happold was asked to carry out people flow modelling to support the development of an integrated event plan.


From the offset, there was a lack of clarity and direction for the event overall, from the logistics of transporting participants from the drop-off point to the main site, to the timing of activities throughout the day, to how the women could be gathered together for the record attempt.

By developing clear strategies to support this important event, we enabled Saudi women to join together and break the world record for the longest human ribbon. Image: Buro Happold


In response, our engineers liaised closely with the asset management, fire and transport teams to outline all the risks associated with the event from emergency situations, to too many or too few participants turning up on the day.

We then worked with our client to develop the high level strategy for the event, defining the timings of the different elements, finalising the site layout and access points, as well as anticipating likely participant behaviours (such as arrivals, dwell times and walking speeds).

This information was then used to inform the capacity of key elements of the event, such as security screening areas, toilet facilities, and the number of buses required to transport participants around the site.

We also added significant value when it came to developing the ribbon formulation strategy. Using our in house SmartMove software, we undertook computational people flow analysis to help devise, test and refine the procedure for getting the 10,000 women in place.

This ensured that they were safely and efficiently organised into the ribbon formation, while also guaranteeing the requirements to break the Guinness World Record were met.


Ultimately, the Buro Happold team pulled the event together for our client, developing clear strategies for both the organisation of activities and the logistics of moving participants around the site. This ensured the day ran smoothly and without incident, and our client was very appreciative of this.

It also meant that, on the same day as they voted for the first time in the country’s history, the women of Saudi Arabia broke the largest human ribbon record to promote breast cancer awareness, a feat that was covered by media across the globe.

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