One of my earliest memories of life in China was fighting for tickets at railway stations and movie theaters where the idea of lines was a culturally alien one. Decades later while it is common to see folks in urban China line up for everything in a way that is familiar, some spaces are still being negotiated. As interfaces between the urban and rural, train stations remain just such a potential space.
Urban China, however, has numerous examples of design that provides physical means of controlling the flow of bodies. This morning at the Beijing Railway station I encountered a novel contraption designed to ensure that only one human body at a time can appear in front of the ticket window. The combination of tightly-fitting turnstile and steel railing-enforced queues leading directly up to the wheel opening was incredibly effective.