In January of this year, Saudi Arabia announced The Line, an immense new development project, that is supposed to set a blueprint for the future of the country and the world. The country will build a city, that stretches along a single 100-mile long line. The city will be divided into three major zones: a financial district, an industrial area, and a living area. It is expected that this city will become a global center for trade and commerce.
The project is estimated to cost US$100–200 billion and it is unclear where the money will come from. However, the Saudi government is confident that the benefits of this city will far outweigh any costs. It is estimated that by 2030, up to 1 million residents could be living along The Line.
The project has been given the name “NEOM”, which is short for Neom Bay Project. Neom represents a forward-looking vision where the past meets the future. The name makes reference to an ancient part of Saudi Arabia known as ‘Neom Bay’, located on the Red Sea coast in Tabuk province. In the past, it was a vibrant center of trade and commerce with links to Africa, Levantine coastal areas, and southwest Asia, but today it lies abandoned and forgotten by most people. NEOM is set to restore the spirit of Neom Bay.
The belt of hyperconnected communities stretches from the mountains of northwest Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea. This particular site was chosen because it is ripe for development and investment, yet relatively untouched by modern civilization. The region is well known for its fertile land, plentiful water supply, and its position at the center of three continents which makes NEOM ideal for running international business operations according to the Saudi government.
Unlike today’s polluting megacities, this city of a million people will be powered entirely by “100% clean energy,” with residents carried about by “autonomous mobility solutions” and ultra-high-speed transit.
The project is built on three layers: a surface layer for pedestrians, as well as two subterranean layers for transportation and infrastructure. The architect, according to Bin Salman, will maintain 95% of the region’s natural environment in the design.
Despite this, there is no doubt that NEOM has the potential to become a truly world-class city. The Saudi government has already started signing partnerships with various multinational companies who are eager to be involved in this groundbreaking project. As the city begins to take shape, it will be interesting to see how it compares to other major metropolitan areas in the region and around the world.
More info: Neom