Saudi Arabia Unveils Its Vision for a Zero-Carbon City

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Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build a zero-carbon, hyper-connected city in a 170km straight line that will “reimagine and revitalise the future of urban living”.

 The Line, located in the kingdom’s Neom development, will be a $5bn futuristic megacity near the Red Sea. It forms part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 strategy to grow and diversify its economy and move away from dependence on oil. 

Major urban development

 According to the kingdom, The Line is the first time in 150 years that a major urban development has been designed around people, without cars and streets. It will also be built around nature, rather than over it, preserving large areas of land for conservation. Walkability will define life in the city with all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces within a five-minute walk.

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Ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier between the communities and give residents the opportunity to reclaim time to spend on health and wellbeing. It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes. 

“We need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one,” said Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia at the launch of the development.

“Today, as chairman of the board of directors of Neom, I present to you The Line. A city of a million residents with a length of 170km that preserves 95 per cent of nature within Neom, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.”

The city’s communities will be cognitive, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier, creating time for both residents and businesses, the kingdom reports. An estimated 90 per cent of available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities far beyond the one per cent typically utilised in existing smart cities.

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Redefining sustainability, it will also comprise carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100 per cent clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents.

An estimated 90 per cent of available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities far beyond the one per cent typically utilised in existing smart cities

Construction of The Line is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2021. It is expected to drive diversification and aims to contribute 380,000 jobs of the future and SAR180bn ($48bn) to domestic GDP by 2030.

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Neom is a desert region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory. It will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations, and act as a hub for innovation where entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies can research, incubate and commercialise new technologies and enterprises.


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