As if it were taken from a science fiction novel, Saudi Arabia has presented an outline of what the futuristic city The Line will be like. In his bid to move the nation away from reliance on revenue from crude oil reserves, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has planned an extravagant and ambitious build. It will be a city with skyscrapers taller than the Empire State Building and will stretch in a straight line up to 170 kilometers connecting the west coast of Saudi Arabia with the east.
The Line: welcome to the city of the future
The city will be located in the Neom desert and will have practically all the futuristic technologies that can come to mind; from the merely ambitious (like vertical farming and cloud seeding) to the more fantastical (like robot cage fights and a fake moon for some unknown reason).
The latest twist is a newly revealed design for The Line: a “vertical city” some 500 meters tall, 170 kilometers long and, for some reason, covered in mirrors. Thus, the design concept revealed in a new promotional video and images shows a futuristic walled city, with the open interior enclosed on both sides by a mirrored facade, stretching from the Red Sea eastward through the desert and out into the a mountain range. It will have a high-speed train that will transport people from end to end in 20 minutes, while everything else they might need will always be a few minutes’ walk away.
More details of the city
The construction of this megalopolis has already begun and Saudi projections suggest that 1.5 million people will live in The Line by 2030; in this city that encloses trees, gardens and communities nest between work and recreational structures.
“We cannot ignore the environmental and livability crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these problems. NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to bring the idea of building up to life,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a press release.
The city’s energy demand will be met 100% from renewable sources, while 95 percent of the project’s land will be preserved. Called Urban Gravity Planning, the project’s design vertically layers the city’s buildings so that people can move up, down, or from side to side instead of traveling miles on transit. So everything is just a five-minute walk away, whether it’s a public park, office workspace, or school.
The designers say the structure will maintain an ideal climate year-round, thanks to its combination of shade, sunlight and ventilation.
Although it looks like a wall to us, The Line would be made up of two enormous parallel buildings, connected through walkways and divided into neighborhoods that are supposed to offer all the comforts of city life.
The city will reportedly cost $500 billion to build, and Saudi Arabia seems determined to spend it. Although the intention to do so does not mean that we can finally see it materialize, as has happened previously with other similar large-scale projects, such as The World island in Dubai.
Critics point out that such utopian ideals will come at an environmental price, as an entirely new city is created in the desert.
The Line is just one of many ambitious designs to be realized in the NEOM project, such as a city of manufacturing and innovation, called Oxagon, and the first outdoor ski destination in the Arabian Gulf, to be located in Trojena.
Referencia: Press Release Kingdom of Saudi Arabia July, 2022.