“I present to you THE LINE, a city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets, and zero carbon emissions.”
- His Royal Highness, Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors.
Said to be an accelerator of human progress. Neom is a planned cross-border city in the Tabuk province of north-western Saudi Arabia.
The town is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Strait of Tiran. And south of Israel and Jordan. The project is to cover a total area of 26,500 sq. km and cover 460 km along the coast of the Red Sea.
The project was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Launched at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 14, 2017.
The Neom City will operate completely independent of the existing governmental framework. Furthermore, with its own tax and labor laws and an autonomous judicial system. In 2018, Egypt announced that it will be contributing some land to the Neom project.
The origin of the word “Neom”
The name “Neom” is a combination of two words. The first three letters are from the old Greek prefix Neo, which means “new”. The fourth letter is derived from the Arabic word Mustaqbal. The Arabic word for “future.” The inspiration behind Neom city was taken from the Garden by the Bay in Singapore.
The initiative stemmed from Saudi Vision 2030, a strategic framework devised to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public sectors such as health, infrastructure, etc.
Vision behind the city
The vision for Neom city is for it to be operated by robots, who will work in security, logistics, caregiving, etc. The city is to be powered entirely by wind and solar power.
The capital for the project, which is $500 billion, is to be taken from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and international investors. US-based Air Products & Chemicals Inc announced in July 2020 that it will be building the world’s largest hydrogen plant in Saudi Arabia.
This hydrogen plant will be jointly owned by Air Products and Saudi Arabian ACWA Power and Neom.
This project aims to showcase “how people and the planet can co-exist in harmony.” The Line city within Neom is a walkable belt of hyper-connected future communities, simultaneously co-existing alongside nature. Every journey within The Line will be covered in 20 minutes.
Essential services such as schools, hospitals, leisure centers, and green spaces will be within a 5-minute distance. The Line city in Neom will have the capacity for 1 million residents. This project is estimated to have the ability to contribute $48 million to the Saudi Arabian economy.
Talking about the project, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia questioned, “Why do we accept sacrificing nature for development?” The city is expected to be a revolution to mankind and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The entire infrastructure supporting the project is below surface level, making the project function seamlessly and making the infrastructure seem invisible. Neom City aims to bring a utopian system to Saudi Arabian society. The final phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2025.
There are many more fascinating facts about Neom City. Check out our second part, too, to know more.