The Neom Project: Saudi Arabia’s Line City

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What is NEOM city in Saudi Arabia?

In January 2021, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud announced a new development project called Neom – the City Line. It’s supposed to set a blueprint for the future of his country and the world. The linear city is part of a larger project planned by the Saudi Arabian government known as Saudi Vision 2030. As part of this initiative, the country will invest primarily in large infrastructure projects, education, scientific research, the healthcare system, and the tourism sector. One of the objectives is to focus on new industries, and primarily on future technologies, such as renewable power.

The Neom Project

Neom is being built in the Tabuk Province of Saudia Arabia. The area is located on the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, with the Straits of Tiran connecting both. On the opposite side of the strait lies Sharm el Sheikh. As part of the Neom Project, a bridge is planned across the Tiran Strait which will create a land connection from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula.

The Neom Project Map

Since the announcement of the Neom Project, some of the first developments have already started. In the first phase, the New Bay is being developed. It will lay the foundation for further development. Followed by some hotel complexes as well as luxurious apartments. In 2019 the new Neom Bay airport was inaugurated, making it possible to have a direct connection with the capital of Saudia Arabia Riyadh.

The Neom Project satellite view

The innovative concept of the city should bring a number of advantages. The Linear City will be structured on three different levels. On the ground level, there will be a complete pedestrian zone with green parks, encouraging walking and leisure activities. The second level should work as a service level hosting shops and other commercial spaces. The last level and the lowest one will be the Bus of the city. At this level, the goods and people will be transported across the city. This will be achieved using an ultra-high-speed transit system. It will take just 20 minutes to travel to any point along the Line. The layout aims to reduce the need for personal cars and organise all of its services in a sustainable manner.

The Neom Project from above

The city will be powered entirely by clean energy. Most of it is from solar, wind, and hydrogen-based power. In addition, AI is to be used to simplify the lives of residents and use resources more effectively.

The Line

The investment in the Neom Project is set to be around 500 billion US dollars. The development has become a signal that Saudi Arabia wants to become more open to international business.

What is NEOM stand for?

The name of the project derives from two words. The first three letters mean NEW from the ancient Greek prefix NEO. The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Mostaqbal, which in Arabic means FUTURE.

What makes NEOM unique?

All energy will be 100 percent renewable ensuring a zero-emission, carbon-positive ecosystem and it will be generated from solar, wind, and hydrogen-based power. Those behind the project say Neom will be a regional powerhouse in water production and storage, anchored on water desalination.

How long will NEOM take to build?

While the deadline to build Neom is 2030, a report about the initial impact assessment of the Mirror Line produced in January 2021 said the development would have to be constructed in stages and could take 50 years to complete.