NEOM’s The Line aims to strike a balance between urban development and nature conservation in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: With approximately 56 percent of the world’s population now living in cities, urban sustainability and public welfare has become a growing concern for governments around the world.

To address these challenges, Saudi Arabia is boldly experimenting with how urban spaces are designed with its revolutionary NEOM Smart City and its flagship development – ​​The Line.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for The Line – one of several mega-projects now underway as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform and economic diversification plan.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, he said that the design will clarify the internal structure of the multi-level city and solve the problems of traditional flat horizontal cities, creating a harmony between urban development and the conservation of nature.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the city’s initial idea and vision in January 2021, which redefines the concept of urban development, and what the cities of the future should look like.

During Monday’s announcement, the Crown Prince said The Line would achieve an “ideal life” and solve the immediate challenges facing humanity.


The line design includes how urban communities might look in the future in an environment free of roads, cars and emissions. (supplied)

“NEOM is one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030 and the line is a confirmation of our firm commitment to present a project to the entire world. NEOM is a place for those who dream of a better tomorrow,” he said.

He said The Line’s designs represent how urban communities will live in the future in an environment free of roads, cars and emissions.

The Crown Prince said the project, which offers a new approach to urban design, will run on 100 percent renewable energy and prioritize people’s health.


Separated from high-rise buildings, the concept includes public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places of work. (supplied)

“The idea of ​​giving cities the possibility to work vertically and move people seamlessly in three dimensions to reach them is known as zero gravity urbanism,” he said.

According to the design plan revealed on Monday, The Line will feature an exterior mirror facade that will give the structure its own unique character and allow even its small footprint to blend in with nature, while keeping its interior To create “extraordinary experiences and magical moments”. ,” said the Crown Prince.

According to Monday’s statement, the line will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and will be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometers, which is unheard of compared to other cities with similar capacity.


The Line’s designs represent how urban communities will live in the future in an environment free of roads, cars and emissions. (supplied)

Separated from high-rise buildings, the concept includes public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places of work.

The narrow design aims to reduce the man-made footprint on the landscape and promote greater efficiency. The city will feature a high-speed rail link, with end-to-end transit time of just 20 minutes.

The ideal climate within the structure, throughout the year, will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while roaming around. Residents will also have access to all the amenities at The Line within a five-minute walk.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, “The line will be built by a team of world-renowned architects and engineers, led by NEOM, to develop this revolutionary concept for the city of the future.”

In addition, city design will be fully digitized, and construction will be largely industrialized by significantly advancing construction technologies and manufacturing processes.


The ideal climate within the structure, throughout the year, will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while roaming around. (supplied)

The design has already received a good reception for its boldness and ambition. According to Mohamed Ramadi, a London-based economist, the vision for The Line is nothing short of revolutionary, despite some skepticism from traditional urban developers.

Ramadi told Arab, “The concept of zero gravity urbanization will be something that future generations will accept as a viable mode of urban, renewable energy-based community, equivalent to epoch-making urban development in history, which can be easily was not accepted.” news.

“The Crown Prince’s bold proposal aptly underscores what NEOM is, which will benefit not only Saudi Arabia, but humanity as a whole.”

For Mohamed Al-Suwaid, CEO of Razin Capital, NEOM’s appeal lies in its youth and willingness to break with old ways of building as well as living.

“I’m still not sure the world is getting the Crown Prince’s message from NEOM,” al-Suwayd told Arab News.

“It is an idea which is meant to challenge norms. I believe that NEOM is not for people with traditional skills and experience. It is for youth with limited traditional experience, but who are ambitious and at the same time. Visionary and practical.”

Located on the Red Sea in northwestern Saudi Arabia, covering an area of ​​about 26,500 square kilometres, and made up of 41 coastal islands, NEOM – meaning “new future” – is a hotbed for entrepreneurship, new technologies, new models. Billed as living laboratory. for livability, and environmental protection.

Backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund as well as local and international investors, planners say the $500 billion NEOM project will include hyperconnected, cognate towns and cities, port and enterprise areas, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. Will be

Its location means that it is ideally located to attract global investment by taking advantage of existing commercial routes. About 13 percent of the world’s trade passes through the Red Sea, and some 40 percent of the world is less than six hours away by air.

NEOM’s unique geographical location ensures a temperate climate, on average about 10 °C cooler than the rest of the GCC, nestled in a mountainous region that is home to some of the most diverse terrain in the Kingdom.

With sustainability at the core of the project, about 95 percent of NEOM’s land is protected for environmental protection. All energy in NEOM will be 100% renewable – from solar, wind and hydrogen based power generation – ensuring a clean and pollution-free urban environment.

Communities will be built around people, not cars, with walkways connecting the site. Streets and alleys will be replaced by piazzas and walkable boulevards filled with parks and green spaces. Communities empowered by artificial intelligence will learn and predict ways to make life easier for residents and businesses to save time.

The line itself will connect four distinct ecotypes: coast, desert, mountain and upper valley. Nature will be integrated into the heart of communities, enhancing livability and well-being. It will also be supported by agricultural sectors, supporting locally grown and sustainable food production.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and vision with a vision to redefine the concept of urban development and what the cities of the future should look like.


The ideal climate within the structure, throughout the year, will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while roaming around. (supplied)

“At the launch of The Line last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first, based on radical changes in urban planning,” he said on Monday.

“The designs revealed today for the city’s vertically layered communities will challenge traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature conservation, and enhancing human life.

“The line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and shed light on alternative ways of living.”


The ideal climate within the structure, throughout the year, will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while roaming around. (supplied)

The Crown Prince said: “We cannot ignore the livable 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 Architecture, Engineering and Construction Leading a team of the most talented people in the field to realize the idea of ​​upward building.”

The announcement of The Line’s designs is a continuation of NEOM’s progress in developing its flagship projects, such as Oxagon, its reimagined manufacturing and innovation city, and Trojana, its mountain tourism destination, which will offer the Arabian Gulf’s first outdoor skiing resort.

Covering an area of ​​about 48 square kilometres, Oxagon will have the world’s largest floating platform and will be operated using 100 percent clean energy.