Innovation Harvesters and Doers

Saudi Arabia to build the world’s first “carbon-positive” metropolis

Construction of the structure with the self-explanatory name The Line will begin in the first half of 2021. The most environmentally friendly megalopolis in the world will be a kind of 170 kilometres long “ridge”. All infrastructure and transport will be hidden underground, and only residential buildings, work premises, as well as service and entertainment enterprises will remain on the surface.

Saudi Arabia to build the world's first carbon-positive metropolis
Section of the ridge of the megastructure called The Line. 
All levels below the pedestrian are underground – infrastructure (service) and transport (spine) / © NEOM

According to Reuters , the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, spoke to the public personally about such ambitious plans. The city of the future will be deprived of streets and cars – all the necessary places in its neighbourhoods should be within walking distance. if residents need to get somewhere, they can do it using a high-speed underground highway.

Moreover, there is even some choice of transport: either a train or some variant of Hyperloop , or a highway for self-driving cars. The entire infrastructure of the city is hidden under the ground and forms a kind of “ridge”. As you can see in the diagram, the lowest floor is occupied by transport arteries (passenger and cargo) along with communications, sewerage and water supply. A little higher, under the very surface, there is a service floor – a basement, where, obviously, warehouses, unloading zones and all the service premises necessary for the city will be built.

The cornerstone of The Line idea is ecology. The necessary energy metropolis will get from renewable sources, which would make it the first carbon-positive city in the world. This urban planning ideology assumes that the infrastructure absorbs more carbon dioxide than was expended to provide it. This approach is implemented by refusing to burn hydrocarbons and maximizing greening.

Saudi Arabia to build the world's first "carbon-positive" metropolis 1
Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia / © Reuters

Living and working spaces in this structure are on the surface. They are integrated into nature and form urban modules like beads strung on a thread. The total length of The Line will be about 170 kilometers. Construction will begin in the next six months and will require about $ 200 billion in investment. The terms of the project are rather tight: the megalopolis should start functioning by 2025, and the full completion of the work is expected within 10 years.

The project budget is formed from several sources. The main investor, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia , also plans to raise funds from local and international companies that are interested in participating. According to the plan, the investment will pay off in full: according to calculations, The Line will create 380 thousand jobs and add $ 48 billion to the country’s GDP.

The Line megalopolis did not arise from scratch. This mega-project – is part of the complex “Neom“, which is created in the north of Saudi Arabia. The country’s government has allocated about $ 500 billion for the formation of a high-tech region by 2030. The goal of this new tourist and economic centre of attraction is to enable the economy of the Arab kingdom to reduce its dependence on oil exports.

The main idea of ​​the whole project is to make Saudi Arabia a model for other countries in various aspects of progress. And since existing cities and metropolitan areas are very difficult to adapt to the requirements of even the near future, it is better to build everything from scratch.

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