Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is promising to build a network of smart cities that won’t have any cars or roads. It’s called The Line, due to its arrangement of ”hyper-connected future communities,” and will form part of NEOM, a $500 billion project announced in October 2017. saudi arabia car-free smart communities
According to the prince, the development will offer “ultra-high-speed transit,” autonomous vehicles and an urban layout that ensures basic facilities, such as schools and medical clinics, are never more than a five-minute walk away. “It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes,” the project’s organizers claimed in a press release.
One million people are supposed to live inside The Line. It will stretch 170KM, according to the official announcement, and be powered by “100 percent clean energy.” The city will be focused on nature, with a pedestrian layer on the surface and two additional layers, for infrastructure and transport, hidden underneath. In addition, the organizers claim that AI will be able to monitor The Line and, using data and predictive models, figure out ways to improve daily life. Construction of this metropolis is supposed to begin this quarter. It’s part of Saudi Vision 2030, a project designed to create 380,000 jobs and 180 billion Saudi Riyal ($48 billion) in GDP.
“Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the industrial revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars, and factories over people,” the crown prince said in a video announcement. “In cities that are viewed as the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. Ninety percent of people breathe polluted air.”
He added, “Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution?”
According to the prince, no walking commute along The Line will take more than two minutes. For those who need a lift, the prince added that the city will be built with “ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions.”
However, there are several detractors of the project. As Middle East Eye reported, Walid al-Hathloul, the brother of jailed women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, does not believe the project will ever come to fruition and is just an attempt by the prince to gain notoriety,
“Mohammed bin Salman thinks that building cities will happen in the same way as it does in video games. He thinks that with this nonsense he puts in the media that he will make history and make himself glorious,” al-Hathloul remarked.
In a press release, the crown prince pushed forward, claiming construction on the project will begin in the first quarter of 2021 and will create more than 300,000 new jobs in the process. saudi arabia car-free smart communities