When Mohammad Bin Salman came up with the idea of The Line, people said this was impossible. How can a population equal to the population of New York City be put into a 170-km (105-mile)-a long skyscraper in the Saudi Desert?
But like all things Arabian, it seemed impossible at first, but that is probably not a word for the oil-rich kingdom. They are going ahead and doing everything to make The Line a reality. UK firm Atkins has been commissioned to help realize it.
Before we move ahead, it must be noted that the Line is a super ambitious project apart from the humungous length it would span over. It is expected to rise to a mammoth height of 500 m with a width of 200 m. it would cover different terrains, which include desert, mountain, valley, and coastal landscapes. In addition, the Line would have a mirrored exterior. Some environmentalists say that this is harmful to the avian population of the region, but hopefully, that would be catered for by the Saudis.
On the inside, the Line is expected to have housing, parks, and hospitals – basically everything you’d expect to find in a major city.
The Line’s team has also put forward another ambitious feat to be incorporated into it. They intend to run the whole city on renewable energy. The demand for an entire city to be met by renewable in itself is an ambitious task, but that is not all. Just keeping so many people hydrated, fed, and comfortable while getting rid of their waste in a desert location is a challenge in itself. The Line says that it would rely on AI to manage day-to-day issues, and not only that, it will rely on surveillance of its inhabitants to help it predict user needs.
“Atkins parent company SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a five-year contract under a framework agreement for consultancy services on The Line,” explained a recent SNC-Lavalin press release.
“In collaboration with Neom and other Delivery Partner organizations, SNC-Lavalin will provide project and construction management consultancy services for the design, procurement, construction, testing, and commissioning of the project, together with the management of the critical interfaces that the Linear city shares with adjacent Neom projects and logistics. The project has adopted a highly collaborative delivery model in response to its scale, complexity, supply chain, and requirements for innovation.”
It is still in the early days of construction, but things are happening on the ground. MIT review believes that even though work is under progress with a construction team of thousands living nearby, the development has also displaced the local Huwaitat people, who have allegedly faced deportation, arrest, and even death for refusing to leave.
The Line would form part of the crown prince’s cherished Neom project. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to convert the country’s oil-based economy into a tourist-based one. The construction of an airport can assess the scale of development by Foster + Partners, a massive battery, a BIG-designed tourist hotspot, and, most recently, a massive cuboid skyscraper.
Sources: Neom, SNC Lavalin