This guide reveals why “The Line City” is the most absurd construction project ever—at the same time, bearing in mind that this is a city of megalomaniac proportions being built in Saudi Arabia. Equally insane are the visions behind it. Footage released by Ot Sky shows work commencing on The Line Megacity, which is being constructed as part of the Neom development in Saudi Arabia.
Unveiled earlier this year, The Line has been designed to house nine million people. It will be 500 meters tall and have a mirrored facade. Following its announcement, numerous people were unconvinced that the project would be realized, with one Dezeen commenter stating: “If this gets built, I will eat everybody’s hat.” However, the footage suggests that work on the city is ongoing.
“The Line is a civilizational revolution that puts people first and offers an unprecedented urban living experience while preserving the surrounding nature,” says the website, primarily courting investors. “It sets new standards in urban development and shows what the future cities should look like.” Saudi Arabia now makes it several sizes more significant than the Prora vacation home.
And Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi crown prince and chairman of Neom Company’s board of directors, is quoted as saying, “The Line City will address the challenges humanity faces in urban life today and shine a light on alternative ways of living. We can’t ignore the living and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and Neom is leading the way in providing new and creative solutions.”
Digging Inside ”The Line City” Megalomaniac Project Design Proportions
On the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is currently working with international investors to build a city for 9 million inhabitants consisting of just one building: “The Line,” 500 meters high, 200 meters wide, and 170 kilometers long. That is roughly equivalent to the distance from Cologne to Frankfurt. The Saudis announced around one-fifth of it had already been completed in February. Watch to learn more:
In addition, they are planning other model cities grouped under the title “Neom.” And in Riyadh’s capital, a hollow cube measuring 400 by 400 meters called Mukaab is to be built with a tower inside. Of course, technology solves a problem that would not have been there in the first place with a more sensible design. Maybe this has been the most prominent driving force all along.
As mentioned, the drone footage shot by Ot Sky (an aerial photography company) shows construction underway on the linear megacity—currently built in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. As seen in the video, numerous excavators can be seen digging a wide linear trench in the desert. Within the channel, foundations for the city, which is planned to be 170 kilometers long, will be built.
As you can see, above is drone footage—courtesy of the dezeen.com website—revealing ”The Line City” under construction in Saudi Arabia. The works could also show preparation for an underground transport system planned to be built underneath the length of the city. Excavators transport over one million cubic meters of earth from the construction site to the neighboring area.
A Sensible Concept Is Better Than An Innovative High-Technology Use
In the yellow-marked area of “The Line City,” numerous excavators (red dots) transport earth to the purple-marked sites. Blue dots representing construction vehicles can be seen all over the base for the construction workers. Solar panels are shaded green. Rarely have developers let their mania for feasibility off the leash as blatantly as in Saudi Arabia. What of the length of the line alone?
This is, in urban planning terms, the biggest nonsense imaginable. True, the German-language project website states, “Residents will have access to all amenities within a five-minute walk, in addition to the high-speed train—with a direct connection within 20 minutes.” But this high-tech train could be saved by making the city more compact in the first place. Such efforts are not new!
Totalitarian regimes have always been fond of gigantism. In the 1930s, the Nazis, for example, built the most complex building in the world on the island of Rügen. The results are an extended four-and-a-half-kilometer-long Prora vacation home. For Berlin, Adolf Hitler and his court architect Albert Speer even fantasized about a dome more than 300 meters high.
It could easily have spanned the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, currently the tallest office building in the EU. Rain clouds would probably have formed under its roof. It’s only that the Saudis are making The Line City more prominent than the Prora home.
Getting To Know ”The Line City” Project Design Technical Hubris Peak
In a notoriously dry mountain region, the Saudis want to build a winter sports resort called Trojena. In 2029, the Asian Winter Games are to be held here. The town is based on the “principles of ecotourism” and underlines “our efforts to preserve nature and improve the quality of life of the community,” the German-language website says. What gobbledygook.
If you care about nature, you should leave it alone. But the Saudis believe any problem can be solved if you throw enough money at it. Below is a closer look at the main camp, built to house the construction workers. According to MIT Technology, all these exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway. And it seems like nothing is going to stop that yet…
Similarly transparent are the promises that The Line will be powered one hundred percent by renewable energy. Even if the developers manage to set up the solar parks needed for air conditioning and seawater desalination on a scale equivalent to that of a medium-sized European country (for that would be necessary in purely mathematical terms): The project remains a huge waste.
More so regarding resources, if only because of all the CO2-intensive concrete. “The idea of an all-round ecological neo-Babylon is being blown to smithereens in practically every aspect here,” writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, calling the whole thing the “most absurd building project in the world.” The advertising campaign’s promises sound equally absurd to any active listener.
This Is A Project Building Vision, Such As For A Housing Machine
For the local population, the promise already does not apply. Part of the site was home to the Huwaitat people, who were evicted to make way for The Line. One person protesting their eviction was reportedly shot dead by Saudi security forces, and three others were recently sentenced to death. It’s not just the sheer scale of The Line that has fascist overtones.
The vision of a building as a housing machine that cares for residents from front to back also has similar ideological roots – egalitarianism and control. The Line is a demonstration of power and a means of exercising power. As such, it aims to collect every conceivable data, including from smartphones, homes, and facial recognition cameras.
According to the website, this data is intended to “improve lives through personalized, predictive and autonomous services” and “tailor them to the needs of each user.” What sounds like a promise can undoubtedly be read as a threat: The same data can also adapt users’ behavior to the authorities needs.
Following this, do these “alternative lifestyles” refer to people with different views than the Saudi royal family? Let’s be surprised! Mohammed bin Salman, by the way, is the very man most likely responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Speaking to Dezeen in an exclusive line megacity interview, Neom’s executive director for urban planning Tarek Qaddumi said the following.
And I quote, ” The Line megacity will “revolutionize our current way of life” and will be net-zero over its lifetime. However, some experts refuted the project’s sustainability and liveability claims with their professional views. Be that as it may, The Line City is a megacity that is part of the controversial Neom project that will see 10 regions developed in the northwest of the country.
Alongside The Line City project design by US studio Morphosis, a ski resort plus other project design inputs by Zaha Hadid Architects, UNStudio, Aedas, LAVA, and Bureau Proberts, the project is already falling into the schedule as planned. Earlier this week, human rights organization ALQST reported that three men forcibly evicted from the Neom site had been sentenced to death.