How NEOM’s The Line aims to achieve harmony between urban development and nature conservation in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH: With some 56% of the world’s population now living in cities, urban sustainability and public welfare have become a growing concern for governments around the world.
To address these challenges, Saudi Arabia is boldly experimenting with the way urban spaces are designed with its breakthrough NEOM smart city and flagship development – The Line.
On Monday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for The Line, one of several megaprojects underway as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform and economic diversification plan.
He said the design would clarify the city’s internal multi-level structure and solve the problems of traditional flat horizontal cities, realizing harmony between urban development and nature preservation, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and vision for the city that redefines the concept of urban development and what the cities of the future should look like, in January 2021.
During Monday’s announcement, the Crown Prince said The Line would achieve an “ideal life” and tackle the pressing challenges facing humanity.
“NEOM is one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030 and The Line is an affirmation of our strong commitment to presenting a project to the world. NEOM is a place for those who dream of a better future,” he said.
The Line’s designs embody the way urban communities will live in an environment free of roads, cars and emissions in the future, he added.
The Crown Prince said the project, which offers a new approach to urban planning, would run on 100% renewable energy and put people’s health first.
“The idea of vertically layering city functions and giving people the ability to move seamlessly in three dimensions to access them is a concept called Zero Gravity Urbanism,” he said.
According to the design plan revealed on Monday, The Line will have a mirrored exterior facade that will give the structure its unique character and even allow its small footprint to blend with nature, while its interior will be built to create “extraordinary experiences and magical moments. added the crown prince.
The line will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometers, which is unprecedented compared to other cities of similar capacity, according to Monday’s statement.
Different from high-rise buildings, the concept superimposes public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and workplaces.
The narrow design aims to reduce the human footprint on the landscape and promote greater efficiency. The city will have a high-speed rail link with an end-to-end transit time of just 20 minutes.
The ideal climate within the structure, all year round, will allow residents to enjoy the surrounding nature while walking. Residents will also have access to all The Line facilities within a five-minute walk.
“The Line will be created by a world-renowned team of architects and engineers, led by NEOM, to develop this groundbreaking concept for the city of the future,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
Additionally, city design will be fully digitized and construction industrialized to a large extent by greatly advancing construction technologies and manufacturing processes.
The design has already been well received for its boldness and ambition. According to Mohamed Ramady, a London-based economist, The Line’s vision is nothing short of revolutionary, despite some skepticism from mainstream urban developers.
“The concept of zero-gravity urbanism will be something that future generations will accept as a viable way of urban community living based on renewable energy, comparable to historic urban developments in history that have not been easily accepted either. “, Ramady told Arab. New.
“The Crown Prince’s bold proposals rightly underscore what NEOM is, from which all of humanity, not just Saudi Arabia, will benefit.”
For Mohammed Al-Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital, NEOM’s appeal lies in its youthfulness and willingness to break with old ways of building and living.
“I’m still not sure if the world gets the message from NEOM’s crown prince,” Al-Suwayed told Arab News.
“It’s an idea that aims to challenge the norm. I believe NEOM is not for those with traditional skills and experience. It is for young people with limited traditional experience but who are ambitious and visionary, and pragmatic at the same time.
Located northwest of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, spanning an area of around 26,500 square kilometers and made up of 41 coastal islands, NEOM – which stands for “New Future” – is billed as a living laboratory for entrepreneurship, new technologies, new models for habitability and environmental preservation.
With backing from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors, planners say the $500 billion NEOM project will include hyperconnected cities and knowledge towns, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations.
Its location means it is ideally placed to attract global investment by taking advantage of existing trade routes. About 13% of world trade passes through the Red Sea and about 40% of the world is within a six-hour flight.
NEOM’s unique geographic location ensures a temperate climate, about 10 degrees Celsius cooler on average than the rest of the GCC, cradled in a mountainous region that is home to some of the most diverse terrain in the Kingdom.
With sustainability at the heart of the project, some 95% of NEOM’s land is conserved for environmental protection. All of NEOM’s energy will be 100% renewable – from solar, wind and hydrogen-based power generation – ensuring clean, pollution-free urban environments.
Communities will be built around people, not cars, with elevated walkways connecting the site. Roads and streets will be replaced by plazas and pedestrian boulevards filled with parks and green spaces. Communities empowered by artificial intelligence will learn and predict ways to make life easier to save time for residents and businesses.
The line itself will connect four distinct ecologies: coast, desert, mountains and high valley. Nature will be integrated into the heart of communities, improving livability and well-being. It will also be supported by agricultural areas, supporting local and sustainable food production.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and vision to redefine the concept of urban development and what the cities of the future should look like.
“When launching The Line last year, we embarked on a civilizational revolution that puts people first based on a radical shift in urban planning,” he said on Monday.
“The designs revealed today for urban communities in vertical layers will challenge traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for preserving nature and improving human livability.
“The Line will tackle the challenges humanity faces in today’s urban life and shine a light on alternative lifestyles.”
The Crown Prince added: “We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing cities across our world, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. NEOM leads a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality.
Announcement of The Line designs continues NEOM’s progress in developing its flagship projects, such as Oxagon, its reimagined manufacturing and innovation city, and Trojena, its mountain tourism destination. which will offer the first outdoor ski resort in the Arabian Gulf.
Covering an area of approximately 48 square kilometres, Oxagon will feature the largest floating platform in the world and will be powered by 100% clean energy.