The Line is designed to be taller than the Empire State Building.
Last year, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced his grand vision to build The Line, a linear city with skyscrapers that run for miles and house millions of people. The Wall Street Journal has now viewed plans and documents to make this happen and published details of what the project might actually look like.
The largest exporter of crude oil, Saudi Arabia, is looking to diversify its source of income, given that the world is moving away from fossil fuels. Among its plans to do so, is building an economic hub at the “crossroads of the world” where more than 40 percent of the world’s population can reach by a flight that’s just a few hours.
The city itself is being designed to use high-speed underground transit systems that will bring destinations within a 20-minute commute. The city’s linear nature will negate the need for personal transport and the problems that ail cities today.
What will the city look like?
According to the recent internal documents reviewed by WSJ, the two buildings running in parallel will be 1,600 feet (487 m) tall and are dubbed the Mirror Line. In comparison, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet (443 m) tall. Additionally, the difference is that the skyscrapers at The Line will run along for 75 miles (120 km), stretching across the desert, mountain, and coastal terrains.
The buildings on either side will be connected with walkways, while plans for vertical farming have been incorporated into the design to help feed the residents of the city. In the coastal area, a marina for yachts has been planned, while a sports stadium to be constructed 1,000 feet (304 m) above ground level is meant for the entertainment of the crowds apart from the regular fare like theatres, malls, and restaurants that you can expect in the city.
The ambitious plan to build a new city in the middle of nowhere to attract people and investors from around the world is expected to cost the Kingdom’s treasury a trillion dollars. However, the finances may not be the biggest hurdles facing the project.
Challenges ahead for The Line Project
Employees at Neom are concerned that after the coronavirus pandemic, people are not very keen on staying in high-rises, while the sheer scale of the project will alter the groundwater flow in the area.
The high-rise buildings also pose a hurdle in the path of millions of migratory birds that use the corridors every year, while the project will also displace tribal people living in the area, which are being forcibly removed to make way for the project, WSJ reported previously.
The scale of the project will also require the use of autonomous systems to harvest and bundle vegetables, while shared kitchens and canteens will also be needed to feed the workforce.
The curvature of the Earth presents problems in the construction of the city, which is planned with 2,600-foot (762 m) modules. However, the biggest challenge would be how rapidly this can be done.
Last year, an impact assessment report stated that the project could be completed in five decades. However, the visionary of the plan, the Crown Prince, wants it to be completed by 2030.
Can the planners and engineers execute a never-done-before project in such a short time? Only time will tell.