NEOM: Saudi Arabia plans to build a futuristic, sustainable city with 170 km glass walls and world's largest floating structure
AdvertisementThe multi-trillion dollar project will include smart towns, port and enterprise sectors, research centres, sports and entertainment venues and tourism centres. The project will cover 26,500 square kilometres and a range of sectors, including industrial and logistics sectors, planned for completion in 2025.
The word NEOM is derived from "
There are plans to set up a network of airports in NEOM, including an international airport. The first, called Nom Bay Airport in the northern region of Sharma, opened last year and operated regular flights for investors and employees on the Neom project.
NEOM's chief urban development officer, Antoine Vives, said the international airport, one of the world's most significant, would be ready before 2030. The construction of the trade and technology centre is expected to contribute $48bn to the state's GDP and create 380,000 jobs.
NEOM is designed to respond to some of the most pressing global challenges facing urban areas and inspire alternative ways of living. The city will preserve 95 per cent of the site's natural environment, highlighting mankind's relationship with the natural world. All energy in NEOM will be 100 per cent renewable -- from solar, wind and hydrogen-based electricity generation -- ensuring a zero-emissions, carbon-positive ecosystem.
NEOM will be a regional powerhouse in water production and storage based on water desalination. The high-tech interoperable, modular system will attract water-related research companies and start-ups to innovate and lead in all areas of the water industry.
The water distribution network of NEOM will be fully connected through an advanced Internet of Water infrastructure to ensure minimum water loss, putting NEOM at the forefront of water technology.
There will be many important parts of the city of Niom; the main ones will be -
The Line - City between two glass walls 170 km long
OXAGON - World's largest floating structure spanning 7 km
TROJAN - The best destination for work from home and leisure in the world, surrounded by mountains and lakes
With approximately 56 per cent of the world's population now living in cities, urban sustainability and public welfare have become a growing concern for governments around the world. To address these challenges, Saudi Arabia is boldly experimenting. On Monday, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the design would clarify the internal structure of the multi-level city and solve the problems of traditional horizontal flat towns, creating harmony between urban development and the conservation of nature. During the announcement, the Crown Prince said that The Line would achieve an "ideal life" and solve humanity's immediate challenges. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and approach, redefining the concept of urban development and what future cities should look like.
The line design includes how urban communities might look in the future in an environment free of roads, cars and emissions. "NEOM is one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and the line is a confirmation of our firm commitment to present a project to the entire world. NEOM is a place for those who dream of a better tomorrow," he said.
The Crown Prince said the project, which offers a new approach to urban design, will run on 100 per cent renewable energy and prioritise the people's health.
Separated from high-rise buildings, the concept includes public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places of work. "The idea of giving cities the possibility to work vertically and move people seamlessly in three dimensions to reach them is known as zero gravity urbanism," he said.
According to the revealed design plan, The Line will feature an exterior mirror that will give the structure its unique character and allow even its small footprint to blend in with nature. At the same time, its interior offers "extraordinary experiences and magical moments," said the Crown Prince. The line will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and will be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometres, which is unheard of compared to other cities with a similar capacity.
AdvertisementThe narrow design aims to reduce the artificial footprint on the landscape and promote greater efficiency. The city will feature a high-speed rail link, with an end-to-end transit time of just 20 minutes. Throughout the year, the ideal climate within the structure will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while roaming around. Residents will also have access to all the amenities at The Line within a five-minute walk.
In addition, the city's design will be fully digitized, and construction will be largely industrialised while significantly advancing construction technologies and manufacturing processes. The design has already received a good reception for its boldness and ambition.
Middle East affairs expert and former Gulf News editor
Despite global criticism, MBS, as he is known in the state, is determined to prove his critics wrong. All these mega projects are part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan, launched in 2017, two years after MBS became Crown Prince.
Backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and local and international investors, planners say the NEOM project includes hyperconnected, cognate cities and towns, port and enterprise areas, research centres, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. It is ideally located to attract global investment by taking advantage of existing commercial routes. About 13 per cent of the world's trade passes through the Red Sea, and about 40 per cent of the world is less than six hours away by air. NEOM's unique location ensures a temperate climate, on average about 10 degrees Celsius more excellent than the rest of the Gulf countries, nestled in a mountainous region that is home to some of the most diverse terrain in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia's rapid infrastructure and other technological advancements have many dimensions. In addition to transforming the energy-rich Kingdom into a regional trade and maritime hub, these projects also promise to employ thousands of Saudi citizens and bring in foreign investment. The country already has a tourist influx from Hajj and
Technology is another critical dimension of this change. The region in general and Saudi Arabia, in particular, is at the forefront of using the latest technology and innovation. However, they still largely remain the end users of the technology and not so much of the innovators, even though this is starting to change now.
With these advanced hi-tech infrastructure projects, Saudi Arabia seeks to take a prominent position as the technology leader in the region. They have great potential to benefit from these deployments and would do well to blend technological innovations with job creation and solving day-to-day problems.
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