Saudi Prince reveals ‘revolutionary’ hyper-connected communities concept for NEOM mega-development

The Line is a 170-km linear development of hyper-connected AI-enabled communities powered by 100% clean energy

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Muhammad Bin Salman, chairman of the NEOM company board of directors, has announced a new project – The Line, a revolution in urban living at NEOM, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

A cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030 and an economic engine for the Kingdom, the Line is expected to drive diversification and aims to contribute 380,000 jobs of the future and $48 billion to domestic GDP by 2030.

The Line, a 170km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature, is a direct response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion, the news agency reported.

Prince Mohammed, on announcing the new vision, said: “Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritised machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as 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.”

Therefore, we need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one, HRH added.

“Today, as the chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, 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,” he added.

The new project – The Line – will be the first time in 150 years that a major development has been designed around people, not roads. All essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk, and walkability will define life on The Line.

It has been reported that The Line’s communities will be cognitive powered by artificial intelligence, continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier, creating time for both residents and businesses. An estimated 90% of available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities far beyond the 1% typically utilized in existing smart cities, the report added. Additionally, The line will also comprise carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents. Mixed-use communities will be built around nature, instead of over it.

It has been reported that construction of The Line will begin in Q1 2021, and that the project will be one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects in the world. It is already part of the extensive development work underway at NEOM.

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