The Saudi government has unveiled a visualization of a 170-kilometer mirrored skyscraper that can accommodate nine million people. A linear city called The Line is planned to be built by the Red Sea as part of the Neom project.
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The Line was designed as an alternative to traditional cities that typically radiate from a central point. This 170-kilometer-long megastructure across northwest Saudi Arabia will be 500 meters high and just 200 meters wide. If the project is implemented, the structure will become the 12th tallest building in the world, as well as the longest. The author of The Line has not been officially announced, but Dezeen suggests that it was developed by the American studio Morphosis.
“When we launched The Line last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts people first through radical changes in urban planning,” said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “The projects unveiled today for vertical multi-level urban communities will challenge traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for preserving nature and improving people’s lives. The Line will address the challenges humanity faces in urban life today and shed light on alternative ways of living.”
The city will be a straight “line” of two wall-like skyscrapers connected by bridges and an open space between them. They want to place residential, retail and entertainment areas, schools and offices in the buildings, and plant a large amount of greenery and parks in the open air. The buildings are planned to be clad with mirrored facades to emphasize the unique character of the project and blur the line between architecture and nature. An underground transport system running along the entire length of the megastructure will make it possible to get from one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes. There will be no cars in the city.
Designed as a sustainable alternative to traditional cities, the structure will be powered entirely by renewable energy, the Saudi government said. And the buildings plan to integrate vertical farming to provide residents with food. However, publications such as The Wall Street Journal believe that the project could negatively affect the environment, for example, become an obstacle to the migratory routes of birds.
The Line project, first unveiled in 2021, is part of the Neom initiative in northwest Saudi Arabia. Neom is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil.