Grand ambitions, great efforts, big projects, bigger investment – Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 holds back on nothing. Nothing – bar its carbon footprint.
In an effort to showcase commitment to the global carbon cause, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, earlier this year presented plans to build the world’s largest zero-carbon, carless city close to the Kingdoms pristine Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba coastline.
With a population anticipated to reach 1 million inhabitants, and stretching out as a 170km-long belt, with all services and transport infrastructure built underground, ‘The Line’ has been developed in response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today.
By being built in harmony with nature ’The Line’ aims to revolutionize modern city planning by totally eliminating traffic, carbon emissions and human congestion. Building “around nature, instead of over it” will see 95% of the area’s current natural environment still intact after work is completed.
Beneath the surface, “an invisible layer of infrastructure” supplies the city with all its transport network and freight needs, alleviating the necessity for highways, roads, and vehicles. Ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will allow seamless cross-city navigation in 20 minutes.
Powered by cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI), The Line’s communities will be ‘cognitive’, continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier, creating time for both residents and businesses. It is estimated that 90% of all available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities, a figure far beyond that of existing smart cities which typically use only 1%.
Incorporated as part of the greater strategic NEOM plan, the Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, announced that ‘The Line’ will see “…all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities as well as green spaces […] located within a five-minute walk.”
As extensive development work across NEOM continues, construction of The Line is expected to begin around the first quarter of 2021. It is considered to be one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects in modern history.
Incorporated as part of its diverse world-class portfolio, the construction of The Line will initially be funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Forming a cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030, The Line will become an economic engine for the Kingdom and will drive diversification. Its formation is expected to create 380,000 jobs of the future whilst providing SAR180 billion (USD48 bn) to domestic GDP by 2030.
With clear intent to ‘redefine sustainability’, The Line aims to pioneer a new business ecosystem that will attract talent, investors and partners, whilst being comprised of carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents.