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09th Apr 2024

Saudi Arabia scales back plans for ‘The Line’ from 105 miles to 1.5 miles


Some people said it was a fantasy…

Saudi Arabia‘s plans for a futuristic city set out in one long line have been drastically scaled back.

‘The Line’ was set to stretch 105 miles from the Gulf of Aqaba towards the city of Tabuk and stand taller than the Empire State Building.

However, it seems that this vision is no longer set to come to fruition.

First announced in 2017, the concept was part of a wider project known as Neom that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman claims will benefit “all of humanity, not only Saudi Arabia.”

The Crown Prince claimed Saudi entrepreneurs would create “one of the most exciting architectural developments taking place currently in the world” with the unique megacity.

“The city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities,” the Prince said. “The designs of The Line embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions.”

Besides the immense promise to be completely sustainable, the city was set to include flying taxis, robot maids and hanging gardens for its planned 1.5 million residents.

All the “daily needs” of the city’s inhabitants would be reachable in a five-minute walk and it was claimed people could travel the full 105 miles in just 20-minutes on a “high-speed rail.”

However not everyone was sold, largely due to the grand scale of things – and it seems they were right.

Bloomberg reports that the project has “scaled back its medium-term ambitions”, with the planned 105 mile long city now set to be just 1.5 miles long.

Hopes for a 1.5 million population by 2030 have also been reduced, with the Saudi government now planning for less than 300,000 people to live there by the next decade.

“With little access to the site, and only eight years left before residents are meant to move in, it’s a lot to take on trust,” one consultant for the Saudi government said when ‘The Line’ was originally announced. “And then there’s the inertia in the system. It’s hard to excise that.”

Echoing the above, Robert Mogielnicki from the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington told Agence France-Presse: “The concept has morphed so much from its early conception that it’s sometimes hard to determine its direction: scaling down, scaling up, or making an aggressive turn sideways.

“That’s the main purpose of building Neom,” he added. “To raise the capacity of Saudi Arabia, get more citizens and more people in Saudi Arabia. And since we are doing it from nothing, why should we copy normal cities?”

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