I am usually known for my optimism for the future. But I am having a difficult time deciphering whether the new 170-km-long vertical city that Saudia Arabia just revealed (see above video) is a legitimate development proposal, a new metaverse project, or a dystopian spoof about how we’re all going to live in beehives once autonomous everything and artificial intelligence takes over.
The Line, as it is cleverly called, is intended to form the basis for a new and allegedly livable city called Neom. This is a city that is intended to lead Saudi Arabia into some sort of glorious post-oil future. And the plan is for it to eventually house some 9 million people; all within a 170-km-long mirrored strip that is 200m wide, 500m tall, and accessible end-to-end in 20 minutes via high-speed rail.
I would love to see the development pro forma for this one (if it even exists), but I certainly don’t need it to determine that this thing is never going to be built — certainly not in its current incarnation.
Looks like a wanna-be authoritarian’s wet dream, fittingly located in Saudi Arabia. A top-down project of this magnitude is doomed to become a white elephant if it ever happens. Cf. Ordos, Brasilia, Naypyidaw, etc.
This looks like an older idea in a newer package. I can recall liner city visions before. Spiffy graphics.