The Line Project in Saudi Arabia | Discover the Vision and Innovation Behind NEOM City

Neom is the city of the future which is an ambitious urban project plan to be undertaken by the Saudi Government with the aim of developing a metropolis with limitless potential. The city combines science, innovation, sustainability, and technology. NEO, a Greek prefix meaning “new,” and M, the first letter of the Arabic word “Mostaqbal,” meaning “future,” combined to form the word NEOM. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia envisioned Neom City, also known as Project Neom, as a carbon-free, technologically advanced metropolis. In addition, he aims to make NEOM the first truly sustainable city powered solely by renewable resources like green hydrogen.

Klaus Kleinfield was appointed the first Director of NEOM when the project began in 2017. Kleinfield was appointed Prince Mohammed Bin Sultan’s advisor, but Nadhmi A. Al-Nasr eventually replaced him.

NEOM is a mega city project with a $500 billion budget which plans to cover 26,500 square kilometres and many industries (such as manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation). Neom, built on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia, is a living laboratory where new ideas and business models will be developed to shape the future. Neom forms part of the Saudi Vision 2030, where it is intended to be an advanced, sustainable and carbon-free city where AI and automated services would work to improve quality of life. The Saudi Arabian government has released some rather unearthly visuals for their projects NEOM and The Line Plan, both of which aim to enclose 9 million people.

A total of USD 500 billion is expected to be invested in the project from domestic and foreign sources. The first phase of the city’s development, which will be completed in 2025, would include a linear 100-mile-long city and a floating industrial complex called the Oxagon and Neom Bay International Airport.

Location of NEOM

The location of the NEOM project is the Tabuk province in northwest Saudi Arabia. NEOM would be built on an area of 26.5 million square kilometres (33 times the size of New York City, USA) and stretched 468 kilometres along the coast of the Red Sea. The city is intended to serve as a focal point for numerous industries, including technology, innovation, culture, education, and tourism.

The strategic location alongside the Red Sea Coastline (east of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba and south of Jordan) boasts a climate that is, on average, 10 degrees colder than the countries of the Gulf region, as well as a wide variety of terrain, including extensive beaches, stunning islands, tranquil desert, and clean natural views. The location of NEOM would vastly contribute towards making it a hub for knowledge, trade and innovation.

Moreover, its convenient placement among towering mountains makes it a favourite destination for mountaineers from near and far. Furthermore, NEOM lies at the crossroads of three countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. Major international locations in Asia, Europe, and Africa may all be reached in around 8 hours.

What does NEOM aim for?

NEOM would introduce a new urban sustainability model powered by 100% renewable energy. The city will use cutting-edge technologies to set a new standard for healthcare worldwide, providing its residents with access to the latest diagnostics, therapies, and preventative measures to set a benchmark. It uses sustainable and regenerative development strategies as a guiding principle, adopting principles of environmental responsibility.

NEOM Bay Airport

A total of four airport networks are planned for the city, one of which will be an international airport. Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, the closest commercial airport, is 48 kilometres away. According to NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr, “NEOM Bay Airport is a key enabler of NEOM’s development, facilitating efficient access to NEOM for residents and business partners and drastically improving the ease with which NEOM can connect with people from all over the world“.

Saudi and Neom would operate direct flights from NEOM to certain selected international and regional destinations. By the end of June 2022, the airline will begin operating once-weekly flights to Dubai International Airport, with ambitions to extend to London shortly after that. In addition, NEOM and Saudia would collaborate on a joint NEOM-Saudi livery for the planes flying to the designated cities, which will feature prominently and advertise the NEOM brand.

Investors of the Neom Project

The first phase of the massive project, planned to last until 2030, was estimated to cost the Saudi government a staggering SAR 1.2 trillion. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi national wealth fund, will cover half of the budget, with the other half coming from private investors and other Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

In 2023–2024, Neom hoped to raise SAR 1 trillion by holding an initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi stock market. Many major companies, including SoftBank, Blackstone, Siemens, and Boston Dynamics, are in serious talks with the kingdom to invest in the megaproject. Even the involvement of Mubadala Investment Company has been cited by Arab news.

NEOM Vision 2030

It has a long-standing ambition of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to transform the country of Saudi Arabia into a green and futuristic centre, and it can be said that Neom is a step towards achieving that dream.

To diversify the Saudi economy and bolster GDP growth through technology, tourism, and sustainable development, Neom is an aspirational project of the kingdom’s Vision 2030. A total of 380,000 new jobs would be created, and the project’s estimated SAR 500 billion costs would add SAR 180 billion to the kingdom’s GDP.

Different Sectors of NEOM

The Line, Trojena and Oxagon are the three sectors that make up the Futuristic Mega City at the moment.

NEOM: The Line Proposal

Intending to revamp the Saudi economy and society, Vision 2030 includes initiatives like NEOM- The Line. The NEOM proposal includes “The Line,” promoted as a one-building city stretching over 170 kilometers. As a social and economic experiment, the towering structure will stand 500 meters tall but be only 200 meters wide.

Middle East Affairs Expert Bobby Naqvi has opined that “The Line is a linear, car-free and self-contained township where Saudis hope millions of the world’s best and brightest people will unite and create life.”

The main objective for the plan of The Line is to be a zero-gravity, renewable-energy-powered vertical city free of roads, cars, and any form of pollutants. The primary aim of this development is to emphasize the people’s health and prosperity, prioritizing it above transportation and infrastructure.

What is The Line?

Two parallel mirror-encased buildings with a gap between them are the primary idea behind the plan. They will form a liveable city when linked by a system of bridges and covered with parks. The combined height of the two buildings will be 500 meters, making them the world’s highest twin towers and the longest buildings overall. The perfect atmosphere within the building will allow people to be amazed at nature’s bounty all year round. The Crown Prince of Saudi has labelled the city project as a “civilizational plan that puts humans first”.

A total of 9 million people can live in the building’s 34 square kilometres of space. Different aspects of technology, sustainability, nature, and the environment are prioritized in the $500 billion mega-metropolis project.

Each megastructure’s squares will be self-sufficient, taking cues from Barcelona’s traffic-free “superblocks,” with everything from shops and schools to houses and workplaces all located within a five-minute walk or cycle. Furthermore, it has a high-speed rail system that guarantees travel time from beginning to end of no more than 20 minutes.

TROJENA

TROJENA NEOM will provide an unparalleled experience and a global landmark for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by providing year-round outdoor skiing and adventure sports. The major highlight of Trojena Neom is the artificial freshwater lake and ‘The VAULT.’ This is a folded village fusing technology, entertainment and hospitality, which shall be the main gateway to Trojena.

TROJENA is located 50 kilometres from the Gulf of Aqaba shoreline in the centre of our nature zone and is considered a major part of the NEOM’s regional planning. It has heights ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters and an area of almost 60 square kilometres. With its clean, fresh air and breath-taking vistas, TROJENA NEOM will be a captivating place to live and work, taking advantage of the area’s distinct climate, when winter temperatures drop below zero Celsius, and year-round temperatures are normally 10 degrees lower than the rest of the region.

Different Parts of NEOM Saudi Arabia’s Trojena:

  • The Vault: The Vault is a unique, folded vertical settlement that serves as the entrance to the city of Trojena.
  • The Lake: This shall serve as a hub for family, hosting events and entertainment.
  • The Bow: Submerged in the lake, “The Bow” is a high-end water-embedded structure with adaptable space fo events, conferences, performances, and other spaces.

TROJENA Vision 2030

TROJENA NEOM also reaffirms Saudi’s commitment to the massive movement to preserve the natural world. Considering Saudi Arabia’s efforts to capitalize on the country’s natural and cultural riches, TROJENA NEOM will be a great asset to the region’s tourism offerings. This long-term strategy will ensure that mountain tourism provides the kingdom with additional cash to help diversify its economy and protect its natural treasures for future generations.

Aligned with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, TROJENA NEOM will revolutionize the mountain tourist industry worldwide by establishing a destination based on ecotourism principles that highlight our work to protect the environment and improve the standard of living in the local community.

Oxagon: Neom Industrial City

Oxagon, the Neom Industrial City, is a planned industrial hub constructed around 25 kilometres north of Duba. The floating industrial metropolis, called “Oxagon” for its octagonal layout, would have a total area of about 40 square kilometres. In addition, the current Duba port might be expanded to allow Red Sea shipping, making NIC the centre of cutting-edge industry and manufacturing.

Oxagon shall be a floating city forming a part of NEOM, and the project’s construction has commenced, which is expected to be completed by 2025. Oxagon will serve as the backbone of Industry 4.0 and a “Blueprint for Advanced and Clean Industries,” with the goal of combining cutting-edge technology with environmentally friendly processes to drastically cut down on carbon emissions while increasing output.

Oxagon can be defined as the technological centre of the future. The octagonal building will hold a fully automated port to facilitate logistics in regional trade, particularly in the Gulf of Aqaba. In addition, it would aim to attract more maritime trade routes and worldwide markets to the city of NEOM. It will be powered solely by renewable resources and also be home to commercial and residential enterprises.

Controversy surrounding NEOM

Despite NEOM’s status as a great example and the biggest potential of the future cities, the development has been mired in controversy. The issues, including its supposedly toxic work environment and the forced relocation of the indigenous Howeitat people, have formed a major topic for controversy. As a result, there is a wide range of scepticism regarding NEOM.

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