- Published: 17 August 2023
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, has become known for his ambitious projects in the kingdom.
The city's name is a portmanteau of the Greek 'Neo' for new and 'M' which stands for two things. These are 'mostaqbal', the Arabic for 'future' and, according to the project's website, the first letter of the Crown Prince's name.
NEOM is a project which reaches into the realms of science fiction in the scope of its ambition. Early visions for the 'smart' city have included things like flying cars and robotic butlers looking after residents' needs.
One element of the colossal project has been christened 'The Line', and will feature two parallel skyscrapers which form a single street some 75 miles long. This will apparently have all the amenities and needs for living incorporated within the structures, including a rail service to get from one end of the line to the other, and no need for cars.
The project is enormous in its scope, and has long been championed by the Crown Prince as the kingdom looks for ways to move away from its reliance on oil.
Construction has now started on The Line, which is being built in the Tabuk province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.
The Crown Prince wants the project completed by 2030, despite warnings that it could take 50 years to build.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has announced that NEOM will showcase a new way of living for the future, running on ‘100 percent renewable energy’.
Speaking in July 2022, the Crown Prince said that the city could be home to nine million people.
He explained: “We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues.
“NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality.
“The city's vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities. The designs of The Line embody how urban communities will be in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions."
The project has said that it will be breaking new ground, with advertising suggesting it is on 'virgin' ground.
However, the area is already home to the Huwaitat Tribe, who have lived in the area since before the foundation of Saudi Arabia, and now face eviction.
Alia Hayel Aboutiyah al-Huwaiti, an activist living in London, told The Guardian: “It’s definitely not for the people already living there! It’s for tourists, people with money. But not for the original people living there.”
Autor(en)/Author(s): Kit Roberts
Quelle/Source: Unilad, 09.08.2023