The Line Saudi Arabia



The Saudi Crown Prince initially revealed the country’s plan for “The Line,” on January 10, 2021. The Project is part of Saudi’s NEOM project which hopes to create a city run entirely on renewable energies enabled by smart technologies with an aim to create a future tourist destination. The “Line,” part of the ambitious project is expected to be 110 miles long and 200 meters wide. The Crown Prince advertises The Line as what is “next” in human evolution. This article will explore the realities of the project and the Saudi’s seemingly altruistic goal.


What is the Line

The line, part of the larger NEOM project, is a $725 billion futuristic city designed to house 9 million residents all without roads, cars, or emissions. It is an imaginative plan that understands the livability and environmental crisis facing the world. “The Line” will be positioned between two massive mirrored walls extending 500 meters high and will start on the red sea expanding inwards through Saudia Arabia’s northwest Tabuk province. It will supposedly run on 100% renewable energy while preserving 95% of the natural environment. 

This will be done by condensing what would normally be a massive city of 9 million people into a 110-mile-long 200-meter-wide city that expands upwards instead of outwards. The residents will supposedly have access to all facilities within a 5-minute walk and highspeed transit from end to end in only 20 minutes. Additionally, Saudi Arabia claims it will create 380,000 jobs and add $48 billion to the country’s GDP.


Economic Uncertainty

Of course, with any project as futuristic as the line problem are bound to arise. One of the more obvious problems surrounding the Line’s construction is the financial challenge of building such a mega project. As mentioned earlier the city is expected to cost $725 billion dollars but some experts are putting the final cost at somewhere closer to $1 trillion dollars when it’s all said and done. The direct funding for the project is going to come from the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is basically the country’s bank for massive commercial projects. With any project as massive as this, a steady economy is necessary to combat the financial strain. In the case of Saudi Arabia, oil makes up 60% of the country’s financial resources.

This is worrying as the oil market in the middle east has become extremely volatile, especially since Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has cut off another supply of oil. Many countries around the world including the United States are reliant on the oil from Saudia Arabia and its neighboring countries giving them the upper hand in one aspect but also making their line of business dangerous. One way around spending so much of the country’s own money would be finding outside investors, however, this has proven difficult. Besides Russia and one of the PIF’s own startups, no massive corporation or country has decided to go in on the daring project. All of this being said, the recent construction of the project means that the Saudi Prince is confident his country will be able to take on the financial burden.


What Does This Mean for the Future

Some believe the creation of the Line is just a stepping stone toward the projects of the future, others believe that the project will fail and once again humanity will realize the problem with overambition. The hope is that the $1 billion Mega City will be the environmental sanctuary that has been envisioned by the Saudis. If so it could be the future as overpopulation in the world’s largest cities is nearing levels that are intolerable to live in and as the population continues to rise so does pollution. Cities like these could mean a solution to both while also maintaining the natural wonders Earth has to offer.