Saudi Arabia reveals controversial new $717b city – but would you live in 'The Line'?

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

Could a narrow 200-metre-wide, 170-km-long skyscraper-city that resembles a desert moon base revolutionise modern living?

Saudi Arabia’s The Line project will be an oasis of lush plants and water features, enclosed by walls that tower 500 metres above sea level.

Situated on the Red Sea, the city will cost hundreds of billions to construct, have an ideal climate all year round, and aims to house nine million people.

An artist's impression of The Line in Saudi Arabia. Source: NEOM
An artist's impression of The Line in Saudi Arabia which will tower 500 metres into the sky and house 9 million people. Source: NEOM

Run on 100 per cent green power, the city will prioritise human wellbeing over transportation and infrastructure.

Despite the big dreams of its builders, some critics have their doubts the project will be a success.

How the city will revolutionise daily life

  • 20-minute end-to-end trips on high-speed rail

  • Cars and roads will not be allowed

  • Tiny 34 square km footprint to preserve surrounding land

What will life be like in the city?

The project forms part of NEOM, a $717 billion business zone in Saudi Arabia’s northwest which at 26,500 square kilometres will be more than twice the size of Sydney.

Its creator is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has shown indications of reforming Saudi Arabia’s strict religious governance, particularly when it comes to women’s rights.

Residents will be subject to the same rules as the rest of the country, but the settlement will be deemed a special economic zone.

Saudi Arabia was once largely closed to non-religious travel but under the prince it is aiming to attract 100 million visitors a year by 2030 and tourists will be encouraged to visit The Line.

Those living in the city will have access to all necessary facilities within a five-minute walk.

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