Saudi Arabia has revealed design plans for a meandering, mirrored megacity.
Dubbed “The Line,” the project will be just 200 meters wide, but rise 500 meters into the sky and extend across 170 kilometres of desert and mountainous terrain. The whole thing will be clad in mirrors.
Envisioned by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the megacity will be apart of Neom, a vast city currently being built in the country’s north west, near the Red Sea.
“The Line is a civilizational revolution that puts humans first, providing an unprecedented urban living experience while preserving the surrounding nature,” a release announcing the design reads.
“[The city] redefines the concept of urban development and what cities of the future should look like.”
“Unlike traditional cities,” The Line will prioritize people’s health and wellbeing over transportation and infrastructure. Comprised of two parallel buildings connected by walkways, it will run on 100% renewable energy and there will be no roads, cars, or emissions. Its water supply, too, will be 100% renewable.
The Line will have a reduced infrastructure footprint of just 34 square kilometres, and create “never-before-seen efficiencies in city functions.”
There will be a year-round temperate microclimate with natural ventilation. Services will be autonomous and leverage AI technology, according to a promotional video reminiscent of a sci-fi film.
Within its mirrored façade, The Line will utilize “Zero Gravity Urbanism”: city features and amenities – parks, schools, homes, and businesses – will be layered vertically and residents can move up, down, or across to access them. It will eventually house nine million people.
Residents can access all facilities within a five minute walk, and a high-speed rail will breeze from one end of the structure to the other in just 20 minutes.
A “revolutionary concept for the city of the future,” The Line will “create extraordinary experiences and magical moments.”
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Although $500 billion has been allotted to build Neom, the design promises made for The Line are not accompanied by a price tag – though estimates range from US$100 billion to $1 trillion – nor an explanation for how some of its more futuristic features will be created. They do, however, come with renderings reminiscent of a sci-fi film.
The Line is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 – a “transformative” plan to reshape the country’s economy and drive tourism.
“Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator,” Human Rights Watch says.
“Scores of human rights activists and dissidents remain in prison or on trial for their peaceful criticism.”