Newly-released drone footage shows Saudi Arabia has just begun excavating for its giant and highly controversial skyscraper, The Line, in the middle of the desert.
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Despite widespread assumptions that the Saudi Arabian NEOM project is just a utopian fantasy at best, a photography company Ot Sky has released footage showing the construction of one of its “regions“, The Line, has begun.
Published by Dezeen, an architecture magazine, the new footage shows trucks and other heavy machinery working in the desert. Numerous excavators seem to be digging a wide linear trench on the site. Within the trench, foundations for the city, which is planned to be 170 kilometers (105 miles) long, are expected to be built.
The works could also show preparation for an underground transport system that’s planned to be built underneath the city.
Speaking to Dezeen in an exclusive interview, NEOM’s executive director for urban planning Tarek Qaddumi said that The Line megacity will “revolutionize our current way of life” and will be net-zero over its lifetime. However, experts speaking to the architecture magazine have refuted the project’s sustainability and liveability.
Unveiled last year, The Line has been designed to house nine million people. It will be 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall and 200 meters (656 feet) wide and have a mirrored facade. The city will have several walkable neighborhoods, end-to-end travel in 20 minutes, and a consistent micro-climate.
The city will also feature “no roads, cars or emissions, it will run on 100% renewable energy and 95% of land will be preserved for nature”. It will also have an ideal climate all year round that will ensure residents can enjoy the surrounding nature.
“The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live”, Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, said in a statement. “We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and NEOM is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. NEOM is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering, and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality.”
While no timeline for the completion of The Line has been set, the Crown Prince hinted at a potential completion date around 2030.
NEOM is also working on similar projects; Oxagon, a “gateway to advanced and clean industries,” which will become the largest floating industrial complex in the world, and Trojena, a year-round destination with mountain quality dry air, a ski slope, mountain biking, water sports, wellness facilities, and an interactive nature reserve.