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Saudi Arabia announced plans to build a 170-kilometre (105-mile) long skyscraper that will be able to house nine million people.
The city’s new design was recently unveiled by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. It is part of a bigger project to build a new smart city near the Suez Canal in north-western Saudi Arabia, of Tabuk Province named NEOM.
Called “The Line,” this megastructure is unique in scale and shape. It is just 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall and 200 meters (656 feet) wide.
Theoretically, its millions of citizens will have full access to all facilities and amenities across the megastructure in only a five-minute walk. In addition, a high-speed rail can ship you from one end to another within 20 minutes.
Everything the community needs can be found within the space, which includes schools, shops, homes, public parks, workplaces, and pedestrian areas.
The megastructure’s outside will be lined with mirrors to attempt to “blend with nature.” It will be free from vehicles and roads and plans to run on 100% renewable energy. According to the architects, this will provide an emission-free living environment compared to many smog-filled cities.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, “At the launch of THE LINE last year, we had committed to a civilization revolution that aims to put humans first based on a profound change in urban design. The plans revealed for the vertically layered communities in the city will challenge the modern horizontal, flat cities and form a model for enhanced human livability and nature preservation. THE LINE will face the challenges humanity faces in an urban lifestyle today and shine a bright light on new ways to live.”
“We can’t ignore the environmental and livability crises facing the world’s cities, and NEOM is in the front for delivering imaginative and new solutions to address the issues,” the prince added.
However, it is highly debatable if piecing together a natural environment with a massive, impenetrable wall will intergrade well with the wildlife in that area. There is also criticism about the project for being too dystopian; wasting your whole life in a flashy mega-mall in the middle of the desert is not everyone’s ideal happy life.
Although, there is no way to tell if this project will ever get traction and get off the ground. However, it looks as if Saudi Arabia is taking this crazy idea seriously.