Saudi Arabia is currently constructing a revolutionary linear smart city called The Line, as part of the Neom Saudi Vision 2030 project. This city, situated in the Neom development, is designed to be car-free, devoid of streets, and entirely powered by renewable energy, ensuring zero carbon emissions. The Neom project, a $500 billion investment, aims to transform a vast 26,500 km2 area at the northern tip of the Red Sea into a sustainable and innovative hub.
This megastructure, set to redefine the architectural landscape, aims to be an entire city composed of two colossal parallel skyscrapers, each stretching 170 kilometres long and towering 500 meters high, surpassing the height of most of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. The city is strategically located in the northwest part of Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea.
^The Line Mega-Project at Neom in Northern Saudi Arabia (Images: Neom)
The Line‘s vision extends beyond conventional urban living, aiming to address complex challenges while embracing environmental sustainability. With a staggering estimated cost of $500 billion, organizers claim The Line will be 33 times the size of New York City, marking it as one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects globally.
Described as a visionary vertical city, The Line is designed to accommodate nine million people, boasting exterior mirrors, parks, waterfalls, flying taxis, and even robot maids. The futuristic concept goes beyond conventional planning, presenting a dystopian yet captivating glimpse into the potential of innovative mega-projects.
The NEOM development, including The Line, commenced construction in 2021, positioning it as a significant player in the realm of architectural innovation. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, expressed the project’s purpose, stating,
“The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live. We cannot ignore the liveability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality.”
The city’s uniqueness lies in its proposed width of only 200 metres, relying on towering height to encapsulate its residents. Remarkably, The Line is envisioned to be devoid of traditional roads, cars, or emissions, relying solely on clean energy sources. Saudi Arabian officials assure a host of innovative features, including vertically layered homes, offices, public parks, and public schools.
Key Features of The Line:
- Vertically layered urban spaces
- Year-round climate control
- High-speed rail with four stops for a 20-minute end-to-end commute
- A five-minute walk to all amenities
- Walking distance to parks and natural elements within a two-minute walk
The Line aims to be a “5-minute city,” emphasizing quick access to essential facilities. Architectural renderings by American company Morphosis showcase a visionary oasis, blending mirrored buildings with verdant spaces filled with water features and plants.
Although a specific timeline for The Line’s completion remains undisclosed, the initial earthwork began in October 2021. It is anticipated that the first residents will start moving in by 2030, aligning with the broader countrywide improvement plan, Vision 2030.
NEOM, envisioned as a futuristic city in Saudi Arabia, is a visionary project led by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. Reflecting a commitment to a “new future,” its name combines the ancient Greek prefix ‘neo-‘ for ‘new’ with the fourth letter from the Arabic word ‘mostaqbal,’ meaning ‘future.’
The historic province of Tabuk is where the group of mega projects that make up Neom’s smart city complex will be constructed.
This expansive ‘giga-city’ will consist of four ‘mega-cities’ named Sindalah, Trojena, Oxagon, and The Line. These ambitious endeavors aim to redefine urban living by integrating smart city technologies and innovative planning.
Encompassing a vast area of 26,500 square kilometres (10,200 square miles), NEOM is already underway with construction in certain sections, marking a significant step toward realizing this forward-thinking vision.
The NEOM Project, with The Line at its forefront, represents a $500 billion investment. Beyond The Line, the project includes plans for a network of airports and the world’s largest green energy plant. The goal is to establish NEOM as a “country within a country,” with residents referred to as “Neomians” rather than “Saudis.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman affirms the significance of NEOM, stating,
“NEOM will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways. NEOM remains one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and our commitment to delivering The Line on behalf of the nation remains resolute,”
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