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Neom or "a civilizational revolution": here is what Saudi Arabia's city of the future will look like


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand $500 billion project will become home to nine million people in a utopian world where humans, robots, and AI co-exist.

Neom looks as futuristic and science-fictiony as one could imagine: the 26,500-kilometre square site will stretch 460km along the coast of the Red Sea in the Tabuk Province of Saudi Arabia.

Its key part, the Line, will be 200m wide, 500m tall, and 170km long, with the possibility to travel end-to-end in just 20 minutes, eliminating the need for cars. Zero-carbon, running on 100% renewable energy, and fully autonomous through AI, it will be housed within a mirrored glass façade. According to the current plans, the Line will house nine million residents, who will have access to a variety of facilities to fulfil all of their daily needs.

Contrary to traditional constructions, the Line will be designed through vertical layers, which would layer public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places for work, so that one can move effortlessly between them.

"The designs revealed today 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," said Prince Mohammed, calling the Line a commitment to a "civilizational revolution."

Neom will consist of three districts, running along mountains, desert, and the sea. The first phase of the project will last till 2030 and is expected to cost around £265bn, according to Prince Mohammed.

“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.”

Since its announcement in 2017, the project has been continuously surprising IT specialists with ever more grandiose plans: from flying cars to robotic avatars and holograms.

First hotels are planned to open by 2024, with over five million visitors expected by 2030.

The project is aimed at helping Saudi Arabia branch its economy out from its focus on oil, with the vision to make it “the world’s biggest crude exporter and an economic powerhouse.” The country is also planning to reach "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.


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