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Zero emissions and zero vehicles. The city of the future is called Neom

For some time now, the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has stood out on the international stage for his innovative vision. This time he has managed to amaze the world with a project that to call it ambitious is putting it mildly. The city of the future is called Neom.

And in the presentation he didn’t mince words:

“Today, as chairman of the board of NEOM, I present THE LINE. A city of one million people with a length of 170 km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero roads and zero carbon emissions.”

And again:

“…we must transform the concept of conventional city into that of futuristic city.”

And on closer inspection, it certainly can’t be said that it isn’t.

The project will run on a line, “The Line,” on which, it is promised, no commute will be greater than 20 minutes and pedestrian routes will define life on THE LINE where all essential daily services, such as schools, clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk.

A challenging promise, to say the least, given that the 170 km long line will connect 4 distinct ecologies (Coastal,  Desert, Mountain, High Valley)

A major urban development designed around people, not roads.

These promises are, of course, backed by the massive subsidized mobility projects, in fact, we’re talking about $500 billion in funding. NEOM is part of the diversified world-class portfolio of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

In addition to the use for private individuals, an industrial and logistics area will be built. The whole project will occupy an area of 26,500 square kilometers in the Tabuk province in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. To get an idea of how ambitious the project is, the area will be 33 times the size of New York City, but what’s more incredible is that this megacity will be powered by 100 percent clean energy.

In addition, the project aims to create 380,000 jobs and boost the country’s GDP to $48 billion by 2030.

His Royal Highness said:

“Throughout history, cities have been built to protect their citizens. After the industrial revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars, and factories over people. In cities that are considered the most advanced in the world, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, the duration of commuting will double. By 2050, 1 billion people will have to move due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90% of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature in the name of development? Seven million people die every year because of pollution. Why should we lose one million people every year to traffic accidents? And why should we agree to waste years of our lives commuting?”

The communities in THE LINE will be cognitive, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier, creating time for both residents and businesses. It is estimated that 90% of available data will be leveraged to improve infrastructure capabilities well beyond the 1% typically used in existing smart cities.

Redefining sustainability, THE LINE will include “carbon-positive” urban developments powered by 100% clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents. Mixed-use communities will be built around nature, rather than on top of it, and in addition THE LINE will be foraged from agricultural areas, with local and sustainable food production

The construction of THE LINE will begin in the very first quarter of 2021 and is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects in the world.

VIVIBILITY

Urban design will reimagine and revitalize the future of urban life by distributing major city functions across levels. All energy in NEOM will be 100% renewable from solar, wind and hydrogen power, ensuring clean, pollution-free urban environments.

The forecast is to have over 1 million residents by 2030, more than 5 million tourists by 2030,

ECONOMIC SECTORS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE

NEOM is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and with additional support from local investors will develop key economic sectors for the future, such as: Energy, Water, Mobility, Food, Manufacturing, Media, Entertainment and Culture, Technology and Digital, Tourism, Sports, Design and Construction, Services, Health, Wellness and Biotechnology, and Education and Training.