Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has a huge idea. One might even call it mega. He wants to build a city covering a geographic area 33 times the size of New York City. Yep: a megacity.
Welcome to “NEOM”—a city whose name means “New Future.” The word comes from Greek neo (new) and Arabic mostaqbal (future). The futuristic settlement will include cutting edge technology, a floating industrial sector, a top-notch ski resort, and a marina for luxury yachts. The crown has an equally ambitious target date: fully operational by 2030.
Its purpose? To wean the Saudi economy from fossil-fuel dependency and bring it firmly into the technological age. Prince Mohammed, a.k.a. MBS, hopes NEOM will provide over 250,000 new jobs and boost the Saudi economy by $100 billion yearly.
The crowning achievement of Crown Prince Mohammed’s city? A skyscraper called The Line. But this superstructure will scrape across both sky and land. At a height of around 1600 feet, it will rival the tallest towers in the United States. However, the plan is for this single building to drive a straight 110-mile line through the desert. Imagine a building the height of the Freedom Tower in New York City and three times its width plowing across a region the size of Massachusetts and cutting through a mountain range before reaching its final destination at the Red Sea.
Better yet, mull over the concept photos. To attract investment, MBS developed a jaw-dropping marketing presentation with gleaming photos and seamless CGI (computer-generated imagery) touches.
Concept videos depict hanging gardens and greenways. Vertical infrastructure applies to everything from housing to horticulture. Neighborhood sectors joined by perpendicular walkways and bike paths provide easy routes for short distances. A speed train shoots from one end of The Line to the other in 20 minutes. All this stacks neatly within an estimated 170 million square meters of glass, reflecting the surrounding desert. Envision residents gazing into the austere landscape from their lush metropolitan oasis, while dining by way of a three-meal-per-day subscription service.
But wait—there’s more!
According to MBS’s presentation, the “zero-gravity” (vertical layout) city will be characterized by “zero cars, zero pollution, and zero carbon emissions”—and a $500 billion price tag.
Sound too good to be true? It may be. Architects and journalists raise eyebrows and questions from the practical to the philosophical. Merlyn Thomas and Vibeke Venema of the BBC ask, “How feasible is it to build a cutting-edge city . . . [with] green credentials in the middle of the desert?” How does MBS plan to desalinate water in an environmentally sound way when it has never been done before? And: Who is this city for anyway?
A bit of digging reveals the answers. Marketing material indicates that MBS intends this “unique, humancentric” settlement for the “best and the brightest.” To cater to elites, the techno-city will supposedly be self-governing, escaping notoriously repressive Saudi rule.
Meanwhile, critics voice complaints through social media and other channels. If identified, those dissidents are often silenced by imprisonment without trial.
Why are they protesting? The Saudi monarchy is known to bully perceived enemies—the outspoken critics—or anyone who stands in the way of the leadership’s plans. And Saudi monarchs have a track record of investing in expensive projects while displacing and destroying the lives of anyone who hinders that perceived progress.
With NEOM, Prince Mohammed is stepping toward building a glorious earthly kingdom. He desires to make both his kingdom and his name great, reminiscent of the Babel story found in Genesis 11. MBS has made his glory-seeking intentions clear, declaring, “I want to build my pyramids.”
The prince’s vision for a new future rises block by block in the desert of Tabuk. Not 600 miles east in modern-day Iraq, the bricks of ancient middle-eastern Eridu crumble. Thought to be the original location of the Tower of Babel, these ruins remind us that man’s days are numbered. The Lord intends for man to flourish and build His glory and His Kingdom.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s dreams draw us in with their beauty. But though man may glorify the Lord through innovation and architecture, he must humbly call to mind: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. — Psalm 127:1
Why? Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish. — Psalm 146:3-4
Actions have consequences. View a bubble map that shows how one event (such as building the NEOM “megacity”) can lead to another.
that looks' so cool but kind of sad to think that he is doing it for just materiel joy.
There is no way he will
There is no way he will finish that by 2030. But it does look really cool
Why isn't there a baseball
Why isn't there a baseball field?
Why mot a foot ball field????
Why mot a foot ball field????
This is going to be the next
This is going to be the next sodom and gamora (they are going to build 2 lines)
They don’t play baseball or football (American) in the Middle East
that is super cool
that is super cool, but it is not very realistic. where are they going to get all of that glass? and how are they going to assemble that in 8 years?
They've got so much money and
They've got so much money and workers I don't think it's going to take longer
I agree with the first comment. Material joy and the things of this earth don't last.
Why build palaces and hoard treasures and live for pleasure when it will all fade away? I believe in God and I would rather live my life wholly for Him. Sure, I have possessions, but I'm not building my life around them. Treasures in heaven are gonna be a whole better anyway! ;)
You cant stop humans sinful
You cant stop humans sinful desires. There will still be crime and adultery and other bad stuff
i don't know if we even have the technology to build that fast, that thing is ginormous