Saudi Arabia Announces "The Line" — A Zero Carbon City With No Cars Or Streets

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An artist's conception of The Line (Credit: NEOM.com)

With over 4.1 billion people, or around 55 percent of the world's population, living in urban areas, cities and towns worldwide are getting increasingly congested. In addition to spending an excessive number of hours stuck in traffic, residents are also exposed to high air pollution levels caused by transportation emissions. Now, Saudi Arabia hopes to revolutionize urban living with "The Line" — a futuristic city designed around nature, without cars and roads!

The radical metropolis, announced on January 10, 2021, is the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Located in NEOM — a 10,000-square-mile high-tech planned development on the Red Sea coast in the northwestern Saudi province of Tabuk — The Line will be the cornerstone of MBS's Saudi Vision 2030. The multi-trillion-dollar strategic plan, unveiled in 2017, aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's oil-dependent economy into other sectors, like tourism, and create exciting job opportunities for its citizens.

The Line's three levels will ensure that all services are within a five-minute walk (Credit: NEOM.com)

The 105-mile-long city, expected to cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, will be built along a straight line and comprise several self-sustaining communities. To ensure all services are within a short, five-minute walk, each community will feature a three-layer infrastructure.

The top "pedestrian layer" will be void of cars and roads, allowing residents to freely walk and bike in the surrounding green spaces. The second "service layer, will include all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, and grocery stores. The third "spine layer" will house ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous vehicles capable of transporting residents across communities in less than 20 minutes. The entire city will be powered with renewable clean energy sources such as solar and wind, and possibly even hydrogen.

The Line's self-sufficient communities will be connected via high-speed transit (Credit: NEOM.com)

If all goes according to plan, construction of this groundbreaking, complex infrastructure project will start before the end of the 1st quarter of 2021. In addition to providing up to a million residents with a clean and stress-free living environment, The Line is expected to create 380,000 new jobs, jumpstart economic diversification, and contribute an astounding $48 billion to Saudi Arabia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030. More importantly, MBS believes it will provide governments worldwide a “blueprint for how people and planet can co-exist in harmony.”

Resources: Neom.com, designboom.com, Businessinsider.com

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