The probability of an “ideal future city” for the ultimate urban living experience could soon become a reality in Saudi Arabia.
His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors announced the designs of THE LINE – the city that is termed as a “civilizational revolution” by its creators. In January last year, His Royal Highness launched the initial idea and vision of the city that redefines the concept of urban development and what cities of the future should look like. An estimated investment between $100 and $200 billion has been set aside for THE LINE out of the $500 billion Neom mega-city project being built in the country's Tabuk Province. It is predicted to generate 380,000 new jobs and boost Saudi Arabia's GDP by roughly $48 billion by 2030.
An important project of Saudi Vision 2030, the designs of THE LINE depict an environment free from roads, cars and emissions. It will run on 100% renewable energy and prioritize people's health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities. It aims to put nature ahead of development and, as a testament, will contribute to preserving 95% of NEOM’s land.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of THE LINE is that it is only 200 meters wide, 170 kilometers long and 500 meters above sea level. The city will be home to some 9 million residents and will be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometers, which may be regarded as a novelty in terms of capacity management. As such, it will reduce the infrastructure footprint and create innovative efficiencies in city functions. The ideal air temperature throughout the year will let residents partake and enjoy surrounding nature when traveling on foot. Residents will also have access to all facilities in THE LINE within a mere five-minute walk, this in addition to a high-speed rail with an end-to-end transit time of just 20 minutes.
THE LINE’s designs build on the concept of Zero Gravity Urbanism
HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman noted, “At THE LINE’s launch last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first based on a radical change in urban planning. The designs revealed for the city's vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability. THE LINE will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”
“We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality,” he added.
THE LINE’s designs build on the concept of Zero Gravity Urbanism – the idea of layering city functions vertically while giving people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions (up, down or across) to access them. Contrary to tall buildings, this concept layers public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places for work, so that one can move effortlessly to reach all daily needs within five minutes.
An outer mirror facade will insulate THE LINE to reflect its unique character and allow even its smallest footprint to blend with nature, while the interior will be built to create out-of-the-world experiences.
The city’s design will be completely digitized using advanced construction technologies and manufacturing processes. The announcement of THE LINE’s design is a continuation of NEOM’s progress in the development of its flagship projects such as OXAGON, its reimagined manufacturing and innovation city and TROJENA, its global mountain tourism destination that will offer the Arabian Gulf’s first outdoor skiing; as well as the launch of two of NEOM’s subsidiaries: ENOWA, its energy, water and hydrogen company; and the NEOM Tech & Digital Company.
The Line is located within the NEOM in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea with diverse terrain that includes red desert expanses and snow-topped mountains that have views of the Gulf of Aqaba. It is estimated that 40% of the world will be less than 6 hours away by air. Its proximity to the Suez Canal is also equally important as 13% of global trade passes through the canal.