Neom, a $500-billion development coming up in Saudi Arabia, has launched The Line, which is described as a revolution in urban living at the project and a blueprint for how people and planet can co-exist in harmony.
Unveiling the project, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Company Board of Directors, said The Line, is a 170-km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature. It is a direct response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion, according to Neom.
A cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030 and an economic engine for the kingdom, it will drive diversification and aims to contribute 380,000 jobs of the future and SR180 billion ($48 billion) to the domestic GDP by 2030.
His Royal Highness said: “Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritised machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising carbon dioxide emissions and sea levels. Some 90 per cent of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?
“Therefore, we need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one. Today, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Neom, I present to you The Line. A city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95 per cent of nature within Neom, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.”
The Line is the first time in 150 years that a major urban development has been designed around people, not roads. Walkability will define life on The Line – all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk.
Ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier and give residents the opportunity to reclaim time to spend on health and wellbeing. It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes.
The Line’s communities will be cognitive, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier, creating time for both residents and businesses. An estimated 90 per cent of available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities far beyond the one per cent typically utilised in existing smart cities.
Redefining sustainability, The Line will comprise carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100 per cent clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents. Mixed-use communities will be built around nature, instead of over it.
Construction of The Line is expected to commence in Q1 of 2021. The Line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects in the world and forms part of extensive development work already underway at Neom.
Neom, located in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, is part of the world-class, diversified portfolio of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
Being built from the ground up as a living laboratory, Neom will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.