Saudi Arabia has announced ambitious plans to construct a 170-kilometer (105-mile) long mirrored skyscraper that will house nine million people. The internet is no shortage of wacky CGI pipedreams that will never see the light of day, but if anyone has the coffers to pull this off, it’s Saudi Arabia.
The new design of the city was unveiled this week by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. It’s part of a larger project to build a new hi-tech smart city in Tabuk Province of north-western Saudi Arabia called NEOM, a short jump from the Suez Canal.
Named “The Line,” the megastructure will be unique in shape and scale. Although just 200 meters (656 feet) wide and 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall, it will stretch across the desert for a distance roughly equivalent to the journey between Los Angeles and San Diego.
In theory, its millions of residents will also have access to all facilities across the megastructure within a five-minute journey, in addition to high-speed rail that will ship people from one end to another in 20 minutes. Everything a community needs will be within the space, including public parks, pedestrian areas, schools, homes, shops, and workplaces.
The megastructure hopes to be green to its core (not literally, the outside facade will be lined with mirrors in an attempt to "blend with nature"). It will reportedly be free from roads and motor vehicles and will be run on 100 percent renewable energy. This, according to the designers, will also provide a healthier emission-free living environment compared to the smog-filled cities of today.
“At THE LINE’s launch last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first based on a radical change in urban planning. The designs revealed today for the city's vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability. THE LINE will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
However, it's debatable whether slicing up a natural environment with a vast impenetrable wall will do any good for the wildlife in the area. A number of people on social media have also criticized the project for being a tad dystopian; spending your whole life in a glitzy mega-mall in the desert isn't everyone's idea of a happy life.
Once again, there’s no telling whether this project will ever get off the ground. However, it looks like Saudi Arabia is certainly taking this bold idea seriously.