NEOM: Saudi Arabia’s city of the future
2 August 22
Imagine living in a futuristic 170 km long and sky high metropolis, with temperate climate zones, hanging gardens, and amazing views. No need for a car, no traffic jams, the city of the future would have high-speed integrated transport. Believe it or not, this may soon become reality.
This is the vision of Saudi Arabia’s prince Mohammed bin Salman who cheekishly said, “If you have money, you should raise the bar. Why should we copy normal cities?”
Named NEOM, the new city being built in Saudi Arabia will cover 26,500 square kilometres, and include smart towns, ports, enterprise sectors, research centres, sports venues, entertainment venues, tourism centres, and more. There are even plans to set up a network of airports in NEOM, including an international airport.
The best part? All of the energy in NEOM will be completely renewable, including electricity generated from the sun, the wind, and hydrogen. Not to mention, the multi-trillion dollar project located on the Red Sea is planned to greatly contribute to the state’s GDP. For example, the trade and technology center’s construction alone is anticipated to boost the state’s GDP by $48 billion and offer 380,000 new jobs.
The prince’s critics were quick to say that the project is just a huge show of vanity trying to hide some of the recent human rights violations that the country has been in the spotlight for. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 has cast a dark shadow on the quickly growing Saudi Arabia.
However, even with the political and humanitarian concerns glooming over today’s Saudi Arabia, a future metropolis in the middle of a desert might be a welcome addition to the list of modern world wonders.