Saudi Crown Prince H.R.H. Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for ‘The Line’, a zero emissions city on January 10. The construction of this a,bitious city will begin in the first quarter of 2021.
“I present to you THE LINE, a city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions,” Prince Mohammed said in a televised address.
“We need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one,” he added.
This zero carbon city will be built in a stretch of 170km belt in the NEOM zone, to be built along the Red Sea coast. The city is envisioned as one with “zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions”. It will have the capacity to house one million residents with facilities like schools, health centers and green spaces. Walkability is one of the key highlights of the city with essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, projected to be within a five-minute walk.
The city will also have ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions to shorten the transit time. No journey is expected to be longer than 20 minutes in the city. The project aims to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build cognitive and continuously adaptive communities.
The project is expected to create 380,000 jobs of the future and contribute SAR 180bn ($48bn) to GDP by 2030.
The Line city will have three layers with topmost layer for pedestrians, service layer in middle, and spine layer with AI enabled transport, ultra high speed transit, and next generation freight operations.
“Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90% of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?” said HRH in a statement.
NEOM is a planned smart city in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. It was announced by HRH Mohammed bin Salman in 2017 at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. The word NEOM is a combination of ancient Greek prefix with Arabic word which translated into “New Future”. The project is also part of Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil and diversify its economy. According to the statement released by the company, NEOM is part of the diversified portfolio of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.