Saudia Arabia to Build Zero Carbon City

The unconventional city will feature zero cars, zero streets, and zero carbon emissions.

The city will be called “The Line.” As its eyebrow-raising name suggests, the unusual metropolis will be built in a straight line more than a hundred miles in length, along the Red Sea coast.

The Line, according to a statement by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be able to house one million inhabitants, and will be the first development at NEOM, a half-trillion dollar green energy business zone in north-western Saudi Arabia that's being created with the aim to end Saudi Arabia’s economic reliance on oil exports, according to Reuters.

Everything in The Line will be “within a five-minute walk of home,” bin Salman says. It’s still unclear how that’s an option in a 100 mile long city, but bin Salman did note that getting from one end to the other would take just 20 minutes.

That’s thanks to “The Spine,” a high-tech mode of transport that connects individual city modules. This subsurface “Spine layer” takes care of “ultra high-speed transit” and “AI-enabled transport,” according to official documentation.

The plans were met with plenty of skepticism online, with some calling it not much more than a vacuous attempt at attracting international investment.

“Everything about NEOM seems like it was dreamed up by a Saudi official who watched a sci-fi movie on [the Middle East Broadcasting Center] at like 4am and said ‘that looks cool, let’s throw $100bn at it,'” The Economist reporter Gregg Carlstrom wrote in a scathing tweet.

However, one should acknowledge that if The Line is actually built, it could be a great template for future carbon zero cities around the world.


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