NEOM: Inside Saudi Arabia's revolutionary leap in urban planning

The Line will have "vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announces a zero-carbon city called "The Line" to be built at NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia, January 10, 2021. (photo credit: BANDAR ALGALOUD/COURTESY OF SAUDI ROYAL COURT/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announces a zero-carbon city called "The Line" to be built at NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia, January 10, 2021.
(photo credit: BANDAR ALGALOUD/COURTESY OF SAUDI ROYAL COURT/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia announced its design behind The Line, a futuristic civilizational hub that is set to be developed as part of the country’s Vision 2030 plan to advance the nation’s social and economic wellbeing, according to a press statement from the government website. 

What will The Line include? 

The Line will be a linear city home to 9 million residents with all of the amenities of an urban center, located in Neom, in northwestern Saudi Arabia. In total, the development is planned to cover 34 square kilometers – 200 meters wide, 170 meters long, and 500 meters tall – only 2% of the footprint of conventional cities, according to the project’s website.

 “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,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) said, according to the government’s press release. 

“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,” he said. “The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”

 Visitors line up at the security check point as they arrive to attend the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 9, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/AHMED YOSRI) Visitors line up at the security check point as they arrive to attend the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AHMED YOSRI)

“The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Residents will have access to public parks, pedestrian areas, schools, and places of work, all within a five-minute walk of their apartment.

The Line will run on 100% renewable energy and, by not creating a sprawling city, the project will help preserve 95% of the surrounding land including coastal desert, mountain, and upper valley areas. 

The development will boast a year-round temperate climate for its residents using natural ventilation and will give all residents fast access to the nature that surrounds the facility.

End-to-end travel across the line will take 20 minutes using a high-speed train, and the whole facility will be free of cars. According to the project’s press video, Artificial Intelligence will be used throughout the facility to create autonomous services to save people time and effort in their daily tasks.

Cutting the lines

As part of the project’s aim to support business, the video notes that 40% of the world can be reached by plane in less than 6 hours from Neom and that the city is “at the heart of the globe’s key trade routes.”

According to the press release, The Line “will have an outer mirror facade that will provide its unique character” and will be created by “a team of world-renowned architects and engineers, led by NEOM, to develop this revolutionary concept for the city of the future.”

MBS added that “NEOM will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways. NEOM remains one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and our commitment to delivering THE LINE on behalf of the nation remains resolute.”