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The Gamut

The Gamut

The Line: Saudi Arabia’s plan for a futuristic city

Urban+Oasis%3A+Saudi+Arabian+Crown+Prince+Mohammed+bin+Salman+announces+The+Line%2C+a+futuristic+city+stretching+110+miles+across+the+desert+in+Saudi+Arabia.+
Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/Released
Urban Oasis: Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces The Line, a futuristic city stretching 110 miles across the desert in Saudi Arabia.

The Line is a 110 mile-long and 1,640 feet-tall linear city part of the $1 trillion NEOM megapolis project in Saudi Arabia that began construction in 2021. Designed to have no cars, streets, or carbon emissions, The Line is composed of two parallel mirror skyscrapers that efficiently layer homes, schools, parks, and offices to be close together.

 

With an allotted budget of $500 billion from the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, The Line emphasizes a low environmental impact while incorporating elements of modern technology. Cars are replaced with walking, cycling, and public transport. Additionally, all amenities like medical clinics, leisure facilities, schools, as well as green spaces are within a five-minute walk for residents. 

 

To ensure a pollution-free environment, the city intends to use 100 percent renewable energy from solar, wind, and green hydrogen. The city plans to build agricultural areas to promote locally grown and sustainable food production. Artificial intelligence will monitor the city and use predictive data models to improve daily life for citizens.

 

“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,” said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a public announcement. “NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upward a reality.”

 

The project centers around nation-building and is part of the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 project to diversify its oil-dependent economy. Saudi Arabia claims that the city, capable of housing 9 million people, will create 380,000 jobs and add $48 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. 

 

“NEOM is one of the most important projects of the Saudi Vision 2030 and The Line is an affirmation of our firm commitment to presenting a project to the whole world,” said Prince Salman.

 

Despite proponents’ aspirations for the city, critics are skeptical of the project’s feasibility, arguing that despite The Line’s environmentally friendly claims, the construction of the enormous project would be emissions-intensive — as well as expensive. According to The Guardian, at least 20,000 natives of the Huwaitat tribe who live on the land will also face eviction because of the project. Additionally, critics have noted that building a tall mirror line in the middle of a desert could have harmful impacts on the surrounding wildlife

 

“Despite claiming to be a solution to environmental crises, it assumes the endless free energy of the Saudi oil glut and disregards the consequences. The biggest question though is who, exactly, is it for? Who is clamoring for this city?” said Edwin Heathcote from the Financial Times.

 

The first phase of The Line is scheduled to finish by 2030, while the entire NEOM megaproject may take up to 50 years.

 

“NEOM will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways,” said Prince Salman. “Our commitment to delivering The Line on behalf of the nation remains resolute.”

About the Contributor
Michelle Choy, News Editor

Michelle Choy is serving her final year with Gamut as a News Editor and, despite being in her Senior year, still plans to work just as hard researching and communicating the facts. Some of her many hobbies include bike riding, roller skating, dancing, reading manga, and playing video games like Overwatch 2. She considers herself a foodie and likes eating a lot, but overall eats healthy. She also enjoys traveling and seeing the world, but her all-time favorite travel destination is Hawaii. Michelle considers herself similar to a panda because of her passion for food and comforting nature which helped her reach the position of Vice President in the Big Brothers Big Sisters club. When it comes to reading, her favorite book series has been "The Hunger Games". A fun fact about her is that she has helped foster over fifteen cats in her lifetime. Beyond Gamut, Michelle intends to pursue a career in either economics or business administration.

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The Line: Saudi Arabia’s plan for a futuristic city