Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled his latest vision of a future beyond oil: a city with no cars, roads or carbon emissions.
The 170 kilometer-long development has been called “The Line” that will be part of the $500 billion project called “Neom,” the crown prince said in a televised speech on Sunday. Construction is planned to start in the first quarter of 2021.
A statement described The Line as a walkable “belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature.” It said the city would have 1 million residents and create 380,000 jobs by 2030. The infrastructure will cost $100 billion to $200 billion, the crown prince said.
Neom is the crown jewel of Prince Mohammed’s plan to diversify the economy of the world’s largest oil exporter. Announced in 2017, the project spans more than 10,000 square miles in a remote area of the country’s northwest. It’s described on its website as “a bold and audacious dream” that will become a hub for new technologies and businesses.
“Why do we accept sacrificing nature for development?” the prince said, citing rising sea levels and carbon emissions in a manner rare for a Saudi official. The city, he said, would be a “revolution for mankind” with “zero cars, zero streets, zero emissions.”
No journey within The Line will be longer than 20 minutes, he said. The city would be built around “ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions,” according to the statement.