Growing up watching Sci-fi movies, I always imagined myself living in a fully automated world with all these cool tech devices- flying sneakers, teleportation units, and whatnot. Something as dreamy as the “first cognitive city” proposed to be built in the Tabuk Province of Saudi Arabia called NEOM (neo-new, m for mustaqbal meaning future). 

The most ambitious part of this project is a $500 billion mirrored, wall-like structure: 170 km long; 500 m high (for comparison, the height of the Eiffel Tower is just 300m), 200 m wide.

This is THE LINE – a linear 3-Dimensional metropolis.

Unlike traditional city models that fan out from a central point, THE LINE’s assets, such as the residential and commercial buildings, will be stacked vertically:

  • The topmost level is where you will live. It will have houses, hospitals, schools, and pedestrian areas. Instead of roads or automobiles, there will be plenty of parks to encourage walking and cycling.
  • The middle level will function as a service layer with shops and other commercial spaces.
  • Transport will be available at the underground level, including an ultra-high-speed transit system.

Source: Twitter

Another fascinating aspect is the development of a microclimate as a result of the linear and 3D structure. This maintains a moderately cool climate, which is difficult in a desert region where temperatures can rise as high as 50°C. THE LINE is also self-shade, offering the ideal amount of fresh air and sunlight.

While a majority of the cities today are blanketed in industrial pollution and smog, this will not be the case in THE LINE. There won’t be cars, trucks, or coal-fired power stations ― nothing that’ll generate pollution. Instead, a super high-speed autonomous railway system will be in place that will allow people to travel from one end of the city to the other, a distance of 170 km, in just 20 minutes!  Pods, which are tiny rail-based transit vehicles, will also be accessible for shorter trips.

Once off the mobility system, residents will have access to nature on either side of THE LINE. These “five-minute” communities ensure that people are within walking distance of their basic requirements. You just need to descend from the top to the middle layer of this gigantic skyscraper city.

Someone in the designers’ team might have thought, “Why should people go outside the building to buy groceries? Just get the stores inside!”

Jokes aside, this megastructure was planned by a group of world-renowned architects and engineers to achieve zero carbon emissions. Due to its vertical stacking, the footprint of THE LINE will only be 34 square kilometres or 2% of today’s cities. By the way, the city will be fully powered by renewable energy obtained from wind, solar, and hydrogen power plants. They even have a team looking at “green construction material” to make sure the lowest embodied carbon items are chosen. 

The NEOM project is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which intends to reduce the country’s reliance on oil and diversify its economy. This specific region was chosen due to its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa- the heart of the Middle East, which gives it access to 13% of the world’s global trade routes. NEOM has also been declared an independent economic zone with its laws and regulations different from the ultraconservative Sharia-based legal system but still under Saudi control. The sole purpose of this is to attract businesses and investors from all around the world.

Source: Shutterstock

Although the blueprint of this city seems to be promising in its objectives, people have opposed a few of the structure’s features. One prompting fear for biodiversity is THE LINE’s mirrored facade, as reflective surfaces are considered one of the biggest causes of bird deaths. But officials say that the mirrors used here will be different. Besides, nature corridors that align with migratory bird paths will be set in place. 

Some people have expressed doubts about the megastructure’s practicality claiming that it is too good to be true. Considering the fact that research has been done and all the components have been carefully analysed by brilliant brains, there is no doubting the scope and ambition of a project this big. Even then, chances are, it might not work out, but in Sirius Black’s words, “What’s life without a little risk?” 

With the rapid developments in technology, we must modify our living space as well. Not a few tweaks here and there, but a full-fledged OS upgrade. THE LINE will be a revolution in civilisation!






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