A city without cars and roads – Saudi Crown Prince announces future plans beyond oil

Riyadh: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced his latest plan for the future of Saudi Arabia beyond oil: a linear city with no car, road, or carbon emissions.

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince

The 170-kilometer-long (106 miles) development called “The Line” will be part of the $ 500 billion Num projects, the crown prince said in a televised speech on Sunday. Construction is planned to begin in the first quarter.

A news release described The Line as a moveable “belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature”. It has been said that the city will have 1 million residents and will create 380,000 jobs by 2030. The infrastructure will cost $ 100 billion to $ 200 billion, the crown prince said.

Num is a major part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to diversify the economy of the world’s largest crude exporter. Announced in 2017, the project spans over 10,000 square miles in a remote area in the northwest of the country. It is described on its website as “an adventurous and adventurous dream” that will become a hub for new technologies and businesses.

The project has been plagued with doubts and controversy since it began, however, including protests from residents forced to make way for construction. Analysts question whether the scheme is realistic and could attract the necessary investment in the region which is already a well-established transport and trade hub in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar.

“The backbone of investment in the line will come from the support of the Saudi government, PIF, and $ 500 billion by local and global investors over 10 years,” Prince said referring to Saudi Arabia in the city of Al-Ulla. Public Investment Fund.

The announcement suggests that Prince Mohammed is thinking about life after oil for the state, which in 2020 earned more than half of government revenue from crude oil. The project was the first major development to be announced within Neom.

“Why do we accept the renunciation of nature for development?” Prince said, citing rising sea levels and carbon emissions in a rare way for a Saudi official.

He said that no trip within the Line would be longer than 20 minutes. The city will be built around “ultra-high-speed transit”, according to the statement.

It will also include one of the largest airports in the world, Naeim Chief Executive Officer Nadhimi al-Nasr said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television channel.