Take a strip, long from 168 kilometers in the middle of the desertand build on it a building without discontinuity, 500 meters high and 200 meters wide. This is Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s “The Line” project. An ultra-futuristic city called NEOM which must accommodate 9 million inhabitants in a radically new architecture and urban planning, without roads or cars.
This crazy project was presented at the start of 2021, but new information about it was communicated to us on Monday during a press conference. The megalopolis is part of the “Vision 2030” plan, which should allow Saudi Arabia to reduce its carbon footprint, improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and get out of its rentier economy with oil and gas.
Work has started
The experience, where nature will be everywhere, will exploit the three dimensions. The photo renderings give an overview of the atmosphere, quite narrow, but where the temperature and the essential elements for mental health will be guaranteed. There won’t be neither road nor carbut a high-speed train to go from one end of the city to the other in just 20 minutes, and the possibility of accessing a place to do your shopping less than 5 minutes from home.
The construction of such a building/megacity will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and many will see it as a dystopian project. The peninsula has already shown its ability to push the boundaries of urban planning and Crown Prince MBS said that construction had already begun. The city of “The Line” project is likely to host 1.5 million people from 2030. The rest of the work is expected to span the rest of the new decade.
“The designs revealed today for the city’s vertical communities will challenge traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for preserving nature and improving human livability” said the crown prince, who should make a European tour in the coming days, at a time when oil and gas are a major subject in our regions.
The very confined aspect of the city will remain, in the middle of the desert and in the form of a building (higher than the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower), which will leave no room to go out. The project promises ventilation, temperature, shade and light in optimal proportions, but all this breathes dystopia for many people, in this strip of only 200 meters wide.
Here is THE LINE, the disproportionate project of a city of 9 million inhabitants, in the middle of the desert and carbon neutral. 2 issues:
– will it happen?
-If so, is it a good idea to have a 500 meter high facade capable of reflecting the sun?
Source: https://t.co/BykA5A8YUi pic.twitter.com/Q9PbmsgHXx
— Noredine Benazdia (@Benazdia) July 26, 2022
Saudi Arabia and its prince Mohamed bin Salman, since the Turkey affair in 2018 where a journalist was killed by Saudi agents, are not unanimous in common opinion. Within the Kingdom, human rights are not guaranteed and MBS seemed to recognize this by explaining that within the city of The Line project, the rules would be different than within the kingdom.
The Line should result in a special economic zone, called NEOM and “the inhabitants would not be referred to as Saudis, but as Neomians”, said Andrew McEvoy, head of Neom’s tourism sector. The inhabitants would still be subject “to all the rules…related to security, defense and border protection”, which does not simplify the understanding of the status of the city.
The project is to extend to a region in the northwest of the country which overlaps with the former Kingdom of Hejaz. As a result of the work, some 20,000 members of the Howeitat tribe will have to leave the territory they have occupied for centuries.