The zero-carbon city that Saudi Arabia plans to build at NEOM will vertically layer homes, offices, public parks and schools within a mirrored facade stretching over 170 km (150 miles), the crown prince said on Monday in remarks carried by state media.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman first unveiled plans for “The Line” in January 2021, the first major construction project for the $500 billon NEOM business zone aimed at diversifying the economy of the world’s top oil exporter.
What if we could start again?
THE LINE rethinks everything we know about how people live, work and play. A 170 km-long vertical city, designed around people, rather than cars. A revolution in urban living. A city that delivers new wonders for the world.#TheLINE #NEOM pic.twitter.com/Op6HyO5gEi
— NEOM (@NEOM) July 25, 2022
The city, 200 metres wide and running on “100% renewable energy,” will also include a high-speed rail with an end-to-end transit of 20 minutes. It will eventually accommodate 9 million residents, state news agency SPA cited him as saying.
“The city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities,” the prince said. “The designs of The Line embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions.”
The prince had said last year that the project’s infrastructure would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. SPA did not provide any updated figures.
The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is the cornerstone investor in NEOM, a 26,500-square-km (10,230-square-mile) high-tech development on the Red Sea with several zones, including an industrial and logistics areas, planned for completion in 2025.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has dazzled investors with a host of hi-tech “giga projects”, but sceptics question their viability as the kingdom scrambles to diversify its economy in an era of cheaper oil.
The projects, unprecedented in their scale and ambition, could create funding pressures as the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the kingdom’s non-oil economy remains slow, analysts say.
Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk