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Saudi Arabia unveils details of Mirrored Skyscraper Megacity

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to turn a stretch of desert in Saudi Arabia, roughly the size of Belgium, into a high-tech linear city that will be contained within a mirrored wall. A tall and narrow strip of a city more than 105 miles long, teeming with 9 million residents and running entirely on renewable energy, that’s the vision for The Line, part of a “giga-project” that will reshape the kingdom’s northwest. Newly revealed design concepts show a futuristic walled city. Its open interior is enclosed on both sides by a mirrored façade, stretching from the Red Sea eastward across the desert and into a mountain range.

The Line is being presented by Neom, a company that is a sort of architecture, engineering, and sustainability amalgamation set up by the Saudi Arabian government to innovate the nation. In addition to the hyper-thin and massively long footprint of The Line, Neom claims that the city will feature several neighbourhoods walkable in only five minutes, end-to-end travel in 20 minutes, and a consistent micro-climate. Neom is also working in tandem on similar projects—which the company calls “regions’ ‘—named Oxagon and Trojena.

The new design details were revealed by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Board of Directors on July 25th. The design of the linear skyscraper, The Line, will be 200 meters wide, 170 kilometers long and will be 500 meters tall above sea level, which is expected to provide home to 9 million residents. 

Consisting of two wall structures parallel to each other, the walls will have mirrored façades reflecting the surrounding desert. When complete, alongside residential units, the structure will offer retail and leisure facilities with parks and schools. The functional units, scattered within the walls in a set of fragmented buildings, are connected to each other by bridges, parkways and green elements – which forms a layered, vertical city. 

Providing an ideal climate all-year-round, it will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature. Residents will be able to access all facilities within a five-minute walk, in addition to high-speed rail – with an end-to-end transit of 20 minutes.

Details emerge about the skyscraper megacity

The designs of THE LINE embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions. It will run on 100% renewable energy and prioritise people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure as in traditional cities. 

  • It will be only 200 meters wide (roughly 220 yards)
  • It will rise 500 meters above sea level — higher than the Empire State Building
  • Residents will be able to run errands with a five-minute walk
  • There will be no cars or roads
  • High-speed rail will carry people from end to end in 20 minutes
  • It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to build

Construction has already begun, and Saudi projections call for 1.5 million people to live in The Line by 2030. The unconventional megacity is part of the government’s ambitious Neom development project, which released conceptual videos showing the city’s high walls enclosing trees, gardens and other plant life, nestling communities among work and recreational structures.

“The designs of The Line embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions,” said Neom. 

The Line is planned to run on 100 per cent renewable energy and prioritizes people’s health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure compared to traditional cities. 

According to Neom, the infrastructure of The Line puts nature ahead of development and it “will contribute to preserving 95 per cent of NEOM’s land.”

For instance, the concept adopts putting all the layering city functions vertically since this gives people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions – up, down or across – to access them. This concept is referred to as Zero Gravity Urbanism. Developed differently from just tall buildings, the concept layers all public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places for work, so that one can move effortlessly to reach all daily needs within five minutes.

“Neom will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways. Neom remains one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and our commitment to delivering The Line on behalf of the nation remains resolute,” said HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 


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