Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come out with his latest vision for the nation which is the largest producer of oil – an ambitious non-carbon emissions city without cars or roads.
The project named “The Line” will be home to a million people and have no cars and no streets, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, Arab News reported. “The city will be a 170 kilometer belt of “hyper-connected future communities,” and will be built around the natural environment,” he said.
Prince Mohammed said there was a need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one. “By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90 per cent 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? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?” he said, according to the report.
The project is part of the prince’s plans to build a zero-carbon city at NEOM, the first major construction project for the $500 billion flagship business zone aimed at diversifying the nation’s economy.
The prince later told reporters in the northwestern city of Al Ula that the project was the conclusion of three years of preparation, adding that its infrastructure would cost $100 billion to $200 billion.
“The backbone of investment in ‘The Line’ will come from the $500 billion support to NEOM by the Saudi government, PIF and local and global investors over 10 years,” he added.
The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is the cornerstone investor in NEOM, a 26,500-square-km (10,230-square-mile) high-tech development on the Red Sea with several zones, including an industrial and logistics areas, planned for completion in 2025.
There have been few announcements regarding NEOM since it was announced by de facto ruler Prince Mohammed to much fanfare in 2017 as a pillar of his Vision 2030 plan to rid Saudi Arabia of its reliance on crude oil revenues.
A Saudi statement said construction would start in the first quarter of 2021 and that the city was expected to contribute $48 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product and create 380,000 jobs.
(With inputs from Reuters)