We’re in Saudi Arabia, where Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince and Minister of Defense, is talking.
In his progressive vision of the country’s future, he predicts zero-emission, zero-car and zero-traffic cities. United Kingdom wants to diversify its business with projects that are not necessarily oil related. World is moving towards a non-oil-based future, and Saudi Arabia is one of the largest manufacturers in the world. That’s why it needs diversification and they’re intensifying investments to open to global commerce and tourism, as United Arab Emirates did much earlier.
The project is called The Line, it’s a 170km line that crosses the country from west to east, and it will be part of the futuristic megacity Neom. The big futuristic city will be built in the desertic Red Sea, and it will have a surface that will be 33 times bigger than New York City.
The project will be entirely financed by Saudi Public Investment Found.
Its cost is about 200 billion dollars.
The first project phase has already started. It’s the Neom Bay, where some hotel complexes and luxurious apartments arise, along with the new airport, Neom Bay Airport. It is planned to construct mini cities, defined as modules, positioned along the connection line.
These modules will be sub-divided into different levels.
On the level 0 you have a completely pedestrian area, where you can walk, and you can reach interest points within a 5 minutes walking distance.
You can find the services level lower, that will help to handle the maintenance, logistic, personal services, and other supplies.
On the lowest level you can find a transport module which is completely managed by an artificial intelligence, able to bring people from one line’s extreme to another, only in 20 minutes.
The main advantages expected from this project are the creation of over 380 thousands new workplacesand a country’s Pil increase of over 39 billion dollars by 2030.
Every part of the project will use low carbon artificial intelligences technologies and all the energy used for their operation will come from 100% renewable sources.
Even though Saudi Arabia is not one of the most democratic countries in the world, this ambitious project faces dissent from the population, issues regarding human rights violation, exploitation of resources and waste of money.
The presence of the Howeitat tribe is another issue that must be solved, it has 20,000 members and inhabits the land where this project will be built. It is necessary to find a solution that allows the tribe not to suffer disruption, hardship and safeguards their rights.
Saudi administration turned to an American public relations firm to contrast negative advertisement, but despite this, detractors and critics continue to arrive from all sides.
The Crown Prince has described the project as a "civilisational plan that puts humans first".
It is expected that people from all over the world will be attracted to this city because of the quality of the environment, the state-of-the-art infrastructure, and the superior quality of life.
The Saudi administration has already announced that the governance of The Line and the entire Neom area, will be a free trade zone with its own tax structure and legal system, since Saudi Arabia has constraints on foreigners who want to live, work, and stay in the country. This is another step forward for the country that is facing the world, a strong signal of progress.
This project if evaluated with post-pandemic eyes could be even more successful as we have entered much more into a world that focuses on e-commerce, smart working, and artificial intelligence.
If we follow the direction of the world, this could truly be the beginning of a lifestyle change for humans, and what we thought was the life of the future will increasingly be next few years’ life.