In January, HRH of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed bin Salman caused a stir by revealing designs for THE LINE at NEOM – an exciting urban living concept set for completion in 2030.
Last month, a series of mysterious adverts on the television caught our eye. They didn’t reveal much information about what THE LINE was, but it did declare that ‘the contemporary city needed a re-design’ – a declaration that is in perfect alignment with our own environmental values.
After some research, we found that THE LINE is an ingenious urban design model set to become a reality in NEOM, Saudi Arabia in 2030. Construction is due to commence at the beginning of this year, and we’re very excited to see how a project of this scale could influence the future of design across the world.
NEOM doesn’t wholly exist yet – developers are currently building the new region from scratch in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. It’s a place where ingenuity and innovation play a crucial role. Re-writing the rulebook for its inhabitants’ wellbeing and preserving the environment, NEOM will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues. It will be a tourist destination, a hub for businesses, and a place where millions of people from around the world can move to and call their home.
THE LINE will be a city built in NEOM with a unique framework. Thanks to its design, people can live, work and enjoy life in THE LINE in a way that typical urban layouts don’t allow. It will be powered by 100% clean energy and be completely free of cars and streets, with residents living alongside nature with all their daily needs accessible within a five-minute walk. It may sound like an impossible, fanciful concept, but once you start exploring the design, THE LINE’s potential is exciting.
Directly addressing some of the biggest environmental issues of our time
THE LINE is meant to be an exciting alternative to polluted, jammed cities with legacy infrastructures that cannot cope with population numbers. Having the opportunity to create a new urban environment from scratch, the innovative experts at the helm of the project offer a model that encourages a happier, healthier, eco-friendly and sustainable future.
“Throughout history, humankind built cities to protect its citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritised machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that we usually view as being the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90% of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?” – HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman
For the first time, developers have envisioned a significant urban development with people in mind, instead of cars. THE LINE is made traffic-free through an invisible underground infrastructure that consists of two ‘backbone’ layers, stacked on top of each other under the city. As well as high-speed transportation, the lower levels seamlessly house utilities, digital infrastructure, and logistics; allowing plenty of space above the surface.
Walking in the open air will define day-to-day life at THE LINE, with an efficient ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solution which are simple and straightforward to use. Travelling along the line is quick, with journey times to everyday places like schools, business hubs, medical clinics and leisure facilities kept to a minimum. Getting to essential daily services and green spaces takes no longer than five minutes for every single resident.
Building to preserve the environment
THE LINE will be home to a million residents living along a 170km road-free and car-free strip, where people and nature can co-exist in harmony and 95% of NEOM’s natural landscape is preserved. THE LINE’S design allows pedestrians to reclaim the space once occupied by congested roads, with a unique underground infrastructure working in harmony with the environment. No matter where you live along THE LINE, you can enjoy views of impressive natural vistas and have close access to green spaces.
Protecting biodiversity and conserving the environment is at the heart of the project from the earliest stage. It’s not even a case of minimising the carbon footprint; it’s about building an urban environment from scratch that reverses the effects of excessive agriculture and restores the natural abundance of the native flora and fauna. During development, strict environmental controls are in place to preserve NEOM’s natural environment and rich heritage. No construction activity is possible unless it has met stringent international sustainability criteria, which have been built around the standards expected for a Circular Carbon Economy.
Creating a better work-life balance through our environment
THE LINE is intended to be a hub for innovation, attracting global business and emerging players with spaces where they can research, incubate and commercialise ground-breaking technologies to accelerate human progress. By integrating commerce and industry into the heart of future communities, THE LINE will help reimagine supply chains and facilitate new and better ways of working.
The high-speed transformation network will make gruelling commutes a thing of the past. Time is an unrecoverable commodity, and when every journey takes less than 20 minutes, it revolutionises the typical working week and helps residents to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
‘What if sustainability wasn’t a goal, but a given.’
THE LINE is set to be a carbon-positive urban development powered by 100% clean energy. Communities will run on renewable energy, allowing industry back into the heart of communities with air free from pollution.
With environmental sustainably being something we take very seriously, we hope that THE LINE will be a good influence as cities worldwide gradually develop over time. It proves that, given the opportunity to create an environment from scratch, we can learn from our past mistakes and build a city that ticks every box.
For further information about THE LINE, visit http://www.NEOM.com