With the increasing population and subsequently increasing threats to the environment, the constant degradation of the environment is anything but inevitable. The need of the hour is to develop technologies that put the human experience first without compromising on the more significant environmental implications. Firmly rooted in this ideology, The Line, designed by Neom, is a civilizational revolution that aims to redefine and revamp the existing experiences of cities and transform urban development at large. Founded by his Royal Highness, crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Neom aims to be an agent for progress and change.

What is NEOM The Line? - Sheet1
location of the line_©neom.com

‘From the future’ and ‘to the future’ are the two basic mantras behind this initiative. Keeping in mind these principles, the naming process for the foundation was pretty tedious and lengthy. The name had to be selected based on the identity and symbolism of this ambitious project. The name was to express this project’s cultural and civilizational dimension while maintaining the aspect of universality. The name’s neutrality was an important criterion during the selection and brainstorming process. 

What followed, was building a name symbolizing the main project sectors, including media, sports, technology, and energy. The word ‘Mim’ in Arabic signifies two words: the first letter for the word ‘Mustaqbal’, which means future, and the first letter of his royal highness’s name. Then the letter ‘m’ was merged with the word ‘neo’, the Greek word for new, giving the project the pillars it stands on today.

What is NEOM The Line? - Sheet2

Neom today has various experts, ranging from urban planners and environmental experts to media and entertainment professionals, which gave rise to an ambitious project, ‘Line,’ which aspires to redefine the current living conditions of man. The Line envisions a future marked by cars that are run on renewable energy and larger parts of land reserved for nature while prioritizing human health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure facilities, which is often not the case with conventional cities. 

The Line is to be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometers, 200 meters wide and 170 kilometers long, 500 meters above sea level, and having the ability to accommodate 9 million people. This layout will cause a significant reduction in the infrastructure footprint, creating a more efficient city.

What is NEOM The Line? - Sheet3
the line_©neom.com

Through The Line, the aim is to preserve ninety-five percent of nature by constructing two sixteen hundred feet high buildings parallel to each other and able to house five million people. The facilities are envisioned to run from the gulf of Aqaba through a complex that will house the Saudi government. The urban development will be people-centric instead of road centric, which is often the case with the most popular city layouts.

With increasing popularity around the advocacy of a fifteen-minute city, the Line aspires to build a walkable city, with all essential daily services, such as schools, medical facilities, and leisure facilities, within a fifteen-minute walk. This concept of a linear city is not new and was first thought of in 1882 by Arturo Soria y Mata in Madrid, when he began his work on resolving the problems faced in the city, ranging from lack of transportation and overpopulation to poor sanitation facilities. 

The linear city was a concept that considered the arrangement of various city functions along an axis that defined width and an indefinite length. This arrangement was intersected at certain intervals by secondary, perpendicular networks. The layout consisted of large residential blocks surrounded by adequate vegetation, with commercial and public spaces situated at intersections. This allowed for the transition of Madrid into a more ‘human city’ whilst allowing residents to live a life closer to nature.

The Line, by Neom, carries forward this school of thought and takes it a step forward by aspiring to create a net zero city by eliminating all possible sources of emissions over its lifespan, including both embodied carbon emissions caused by the construction process and operational carbon emissions, caused as the structures are used. Neom has a team dedicated to researching innovative ‘green construction materials to ensure minimum embodied energy. The city will also be powered by renewable energy, which will further reduce carbon emissions. For any other unavoidable sources of emission, the team aims to utilize technologies that will further reduce atmospheric carbon emissions. Processes such as carbon offsetting and carbon sequestration, such as capturing CO2, are other processes that will further support this vision. 

view of the city_©neom.com

A fairly ambitious project, the Line seems out of reach with regard to the construction and financial feasibility. Further, the aspect of mundanity poses the question if all the parts of the city will look the same, similar to something out of a sci-fi film, or will each part encompass a unique visual quality. Concerns regarding the enormous requirement for skilled manpower and financial resources all pose future challenges. 

The short time span, combined with the aspiration of bringing together varied aspects, including environmental sustainability, luxury, innovation, strategic location, rapid transit systems, and net zero living, all pose challenges for urban planners and architects alike. Potential rapid growth in population and an influx of immigrants from varied backgrounds, all having different cultures, also pose the question of adaptability and flexibility, both the city’s urban fabric and its residents. These questions will only be answered as we make progress on the road to a post-carbon future. Although optimistic and idealistic in its conceptualization, the project’s gestation period will tell its accurate tale, leaving the rest of us to ponder in the meantime. 


Article title: THE LINE
Website title: Neom.com
URL: https://www.neom.com/en-us/regions/theline


Article title: NEOM: Made to Change
Website title: Neom.com
URL: https://www.neom.com/en-us




Article title: What is The Line, the 170km-long mirrored metropolis of Saudi Arabia is building in the desert?

Website title: The Conversation

URL: https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-line-the-170km-long-mirrored-metropolis-saudi-arabia-is-building-in-the-desert-188639

Article title: What Is THE LINE? – NEOM News & Suppliers Directory
Website title: Neom.directory
URL: https://neom.directory/what-is-the-line



Tara is a student of architecture, with a keen interest in exploring futuristic solutions for problems related to the built environment. As a budding writer and researcher, she looks forward to a future marked by harmony between the built environment and nature, marking the age of ‘ecological building’