A carbon-free 170 kilometers long city in the middle of the desert with glow-in-the-dark-beaches, billions of trees, and levitating trains. It sounds like the perfect scene for a futuristic movie, but thanks to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this will actually be reality.
These surreal sounding structures are all part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious mega project to help the kingdom reduce the dependence of oil and be a lot greener. The country is constructing a $500 billion city with the largest buildings the world has ever seen and will be about 33 times (!) the size of New York City. The name of this gigantic project couldn’t be more suitable: NEOM. The name, derived from the Greek word neos (new) and the Arabic word mustaqbal (future), shows exactly what the KSA crown prince had in mind with this eco-city: a blueprint for tomorrow, the solution for a healthy planet in the future. NEOM will be the first sustainable city, completely powered by wind and solar, with water provided by carbon-free desalination plants. A little bit earlier this year NEOM launched a regreening initiative, meaning that it will plant 100 million native trees before 2030.
Funding? NEOM is funded by the public investment fund, as well as local and international investors. It has also partnered with some of the leading institutions + companies to get this project moving...
$200 billion of this humongous project will go to zero-carbon city ‘The Line’. No roads, no cars, no emissions. The city will be built up from self-sufficient blocks, with each having its own shops and school so that everything will be within a 5-minute walking or cycling distance. If commuting is needed or desired, commuters will travel by hyper-speed trains. Traveling from one end of the line to the other will only take 20 minutes! This would mean the train is able to reach an average speed of 510 km/hour (!). Even though the entire idea sounds like a highly futuristic landscape, it is well thought-out and an intelligent, sustainable city. The 170-kilometer-long city with gigantic horizontal buildings won’t be built at once, but in different stages, following demand. The Line is expecting its first residents in 2024.
If you thought we covered it all with The Line, NEOM will also host Oxagon. With its span of 7 kilometers this floating city will be the largest floating structure in the world. Oxagon is meant to be the catalyst for economic growth in the NEOM, but also for the wider KSA. It will create jobs, regional trade and will redefine the world’s approach to industrial development.
Bigger, higher, more, better
World’s longest city, world’s highest buildings, world’s biggest floating structure AND the world’s largest coral reef restoration project. Another part of NEOM, a little bit further up the red seacoast from this floating industrial hub, will host a mega-territory to restore the receding coral reefs. This project is planned to be finished by 2025.
Everything about this city sounds mind-blowing, and some critics wonder if NEOM can live up to the promises. As an example, the mega city is supposed to be the world’s most food self-sufficient city, with vertical farming and greenhouses. This would be revolutionary for a country that currently imports 80% of its food.
On the other side, defenders of NEOM state that it’s necessary to have a fresh start and build a completely new concept. The Middle East is running out of water, and solutions need to be found. NEOM is a pilot experimental project, but IF it can solve the water crisis in the Middle East it will be a demonstration to the world of how it can be done.
We at the PTC are optimistic and are truly amazed by this incredible project.
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