What can you do with money? In Saudi Arabia it can be anything. And if you want a futuristic city of mirrors in the middle of the desert, you can have it. It is, specifically, the project that the country is carrying out under The Line project, which after many rumors and planning, already has a definitive project.
Designed by NEOM, a company owned by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, the goal is to create a completely efficient and intelligent city in the middle of the desert. The project, which was presented in 2021 with an initial budget of 500,000 million dollars, show now what it will look like in a few years. The goal is that, around 2030, The Line will be operational. That is if they find funding. Objective that, at this time, have been proposed with an international announcement to attract funds with which to create this city of the future. As was the idea of EPCOT a few decades ago.
It will run on 100% renewable energy – a bid to diversify the region’s oil-based businesses by 2030 – and the water systems will also be 100% efficient. It will not have combustion cars inside, since it will be designed to have efficient public transport similar to the Hyperloop -capable of tour the city in 20 minutes from end to end– and it will be designed so that its inhabitants have everything they need within 5 minutes of their surroundings. And also so that they do not see the less aesthetic elements. The transport lines, as well as the roads for autonomous cars – these are allowed – will be located underground. It will also have a robotics and artificial intelligence system to manage everything that happens in The Line; with permanent data analysis. Although this opens the question of how privacy will be managed for its inhabitants.
It is, by all accounts, the perfect city for its inhabitants. Some that will be able to access subscription rates similar to Netflix. What do you never want to cook? You will have a permanent breakfast, lunch and dinner service.
However, what is striking about this construction is its shape. The Line will only have 200 meters wide, but 170 kilometers long. It will be, for practical purposes, a line drawn in the desert. One that will rise 500 meters above sea level – a little below the great skyscrapers of Dubai, but well above the average for the tallest buildings in the world. With a capacity for 9 million inhabitants – probably rich, very rich – the design of the city will be thought of vertically. In this way, homes, offices, schools, parks, places of leisure or everything that may be needed for day to day will be in a section of 500 meters from the ground upwards.
How will they manage the lack of light in the lower areas? That is a big question that still has no answer. Although it is true that the inhabitants of the region are highly accustomed to being in covered areas with air conditioning to avoid permanent heat, this point may be a problem to attract the new inhabitants of the city of the future. One that promises perfect air conditioning within its facilities -even if they are “outside”- with an efficient and renewable cooling system. Equipped with vertical farming, a stadium, a marina on the Red Sea and, of course, a connecting airport, The Line will be a complete city.
The Line: a city covered in mirrors
It is one of its most striking aspects from the outside. If the interior dimensions of the Saudi build weren’t crazy enough for you, this is even more so. The 170 kilometers that will cover the vertical city will be covered in millions of mirrors. Only visible from the outside, the goal, according to the design team, is to blend in with the environment. And, at least in the renders, they succeed.
However, and leaving aside the intensive cleaning and maintenance that this structure will have to undergo, some questions remain. The idea of putting mirrors in an area where the sun is practically guaranteed and the temperature exceeds 45 degrees in summer, it does not seem to be too sensible. At least for those outside the structure.
Although it is true that there is not much danger of fire in the middle of a desert, it can be a problem for some animal species. The birds, which cross the area with some migratory flows, may be affected by the optical effect that The Line has on them.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.