Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, has announced the launch of ‘THE LINE’ in the city of NEOM, which will consist of a 170-kilometre belt of hyper-connected communities, designed without cars or roads and in concert with nature.
Described as a ‘revolution in urban living’, this giga-project has been put forward as a blueprint for how people can co-exist in harmony with the planet. To help achieve this, the various communities will be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, which is designed to learn and improve residents and businesses’ lives.
“Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritised 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,” the Crown Prince explained.
“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?”
A city of a million residents, THE LINE will be powered by 100% clean energy and preserve 95% of the natural world within its boundaries. Furthermore, it will generate around 380,000 job opportunities and contribute 180 billion riyals ($48 billion) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
A 170-kilometer belt of hyper-connected communities
THE LINE will be powered by 100% clean energy
It is expected that no journey will be longer than 20 minutes
NEOM will be a destination and a home for people who dream big
THE LINE is the first time in 150 years that a major urban development has been designed around people, not roads. Walkability will define life on THE LINE; all essential services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk. Ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier and allow residents to spend more of their time on health and wellbeing. It is expected that no journey will be longer than 20 minutes. A new airport will also be constructed and will become one of the largest in the world.
Dream, Create, Inspire
THE LINE will reshape the traditional concept of urban life, enabling NEOM to become an economic engine for Saudi Arabia, the region, and the world. It will be supported by an invisible and seamlessly integrated physical and digital infrastructure layer containing essential utilities and transportation services.
All businesses and communities on THE LINE are hyper-connected through a digital framework incorporating AI and robotics that continuously learns and grows. Over 90% of the data in NEOM will be analysed to provide a predictive system with ever-improving services to residents and businesses.
THE LINE will allow NEOM to become a hub for innovation, where global business and emerging players can research, incubate and commercialise groundbreaking technologies to accelerate human progress. By integrating commerce and industry into the heart of communities, THE LINE will help re-imagine supply chains and facilitate new and better ways of working. It will foster innovation and empower entrepreneurs.
Each community on THE LINE will be self-sufficient and reflect the personality of its residents, the region and the industries within it.
Powering What’s Next
NEOM is a bold and audacious vision of what a new future will look like. In fact, NEOM means ‘new future’ – the first three characters, NEO, are derived from the Latin word for ‘new’, while the last character, M, is an abbreviation of the Arabic word, ‘Mostaqbal’, meaning ‘future’.
It is something that has never been done before at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. NEOM will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for creating an exceptional lifestyle, prosperous businesses, and new ways of looking at sustainability.
Construction is set to get underway on THE LINE in the first quarter of this year as part of ongoing development work at the NEOM site. Agreements have been signed with AECOM and Bechtel to develop an advanced transport infrastructure, making THE LINE one of the largest and most complex projects of its type in the world. Other agreements include those with Air Products and ACWA Power, to build a world-scale green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility powered by renewable energy, and with stc to establish a 5G network infrastructure that will accelerate NEOM’s digital ambitions.
Nadhmi al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said: “Four years ago the Saudi Crown Prince launched the initial vision of NEOM, a dream back in 2017. The world has been asking what we have been doing over the course of the last four years. We worked for more than two years to change this dream and vision into a set of strategic plans. The team worked with experts from all around the world to ensure that this vision is turned into strategies.”
Ideas for Life
NEOM is an embodiment of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan to grow and diversify the kingdom’s economy and play a leading role in global development. It will offer an array of opportunities and encompasses some impressive key facts:
- The natural world will be within a five-minute walk from every point on THE LINE
- THE LINE connects four distinctive ecologies: coastal, coastal desert, mountain and upper valley
- There will be over one million residents and five million tourists by 2030
- Perennial solar resources (20 MJ/m2) and ideal wind speeds (an average of 10.3 m/s) provide abundant green energy
- 40% of the world’s population will be able to reach NEOM in less than four hours
NEOM, a development located in the northwestern Tabuk Province, spans the kingdom’s Egyptian and Jordanian borders, rendering it the first private zone to extend out to three countries. A new model for the future of urban societies aimed at ensuring a balance with nature, NEOM is being built from the ground up as a ‘living laboratory’. Eventually, it will comprise towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.
Moreover, there will be other significant developments to complement THE LINE. NEOM will create a new approach to developing a future model for a core manufacturing and industrial centre. Additional developments in NEOM at a later date will include coastal and mountain areas that will take the form of prestigious residential and commercial communities, and tourist attractions built around sustainability.