By the end of the century, the 7.9 billion people on the planet are predicted to number 10 billion. At that point, most demographers anticipate it will level off. Population growth is slowed down in developing societies by a number of factors, including urbanization, education, and easier access to contraception. How are we going to accommodate, work, feed, and amuse an extra 2.1 billion people in the interim? Saudi Arabia is wagering that the solution is, in effect, to line up rather than to spread out. The Saudis’ idea of “The Line” is a futuristic city contained within one enormous structure that resembles a skyscraper on one side. Would you choose to reside there?
2 Aspects of Saudi Arabia
Two factors make the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia well-known: oil and Islam. Muhammad originally started spreading the teachings of Islam there, at Mecca. The entire peninsula was transformed in less than a generation. Muslims then established a caliphate spanning South Asia and North Africa. More than a billion Muslims around the world pray toward Mecca and hope to make a pilgrimage there. Furthermore, a lot of them regard Saudi Arabia as the head of the Islamic world.
When Saudi Arabia began producing oil in 1946, it stood out on the map for those who were not Muslims. It possesses the world’s second-largest proven petroleum reserves. Petroleum is anticipated to bring in $1 billion a day for the country. As a result, the GDP of Saudi Arabia surpasses that of 81% of all nations.
How Do They Use So Much Money?
The government of Saudi Arabia receives 75% of its income from oil. The wealthy and powerful in politics and business lead opulent lives filled with fancy automobiles, yachts, good eating, and entertainment. However, the general public has also benefited with free healthcare and education, cheap electricity, and well-paying government jobs. Large-scale infrastructure projects including ports, highways, and water desalination facilities have also been funded by the nation. 76% of the private workforce in the nation is made up of more than 6 million foreign workers. Providing a pleasant life for citizens serves as a means of stifling criticism of the nation’s deficient human rights record and lack of democracy.
Neom: A Project Worth $500 Billion
The megaproject known as “Neom” aims to develop the country’s northwest, close to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. The name means “new future” and comes from Greek and Arabic roots. The project, which is expected to cost $500 billion, would have commercial and industrial zones as well as tourism attractions. But “The Line,” a futuristic linear metropolis, is the focal point of it all. It goes beyond mere idea. The project began in 2017 and is still in the construction phase, with a completion date of 2039 anticipated.
The Line: One Building, One City
Nine million people will live in The Line, a linear city that resembles a massive “skyscraper on its side.” It will reach the mountains in the east after spanning kilometers of desert from the shore of the Red Sea. Think now how astoundingly large it is:
The metropolis will be contained under a single megastructure that is 660 feet (200 meters) broad and 106 miles (170 km) long. It would take you 36 hours to go from one end to the other at a speed of 3 mph (4.8 kph). Another option is to take a 20-minute high-speed train ride.
At 1,640 feet (550 meters) when completed, it would rank as the twelfth-tallest building globally.
This mega-skyscraper’s height will be only 136 ft (41.4 m) less than One World Trade Center, the highest structure in the United States (1776 feet, or 541 m).
The Line will occupy a mere 13 square miles (34 square kilometers), which is impressive for a single building and not too awful for a city. (Compare that to One World Trade Center’s 40,000 square feet, or roughly one-hundredth of a mile.)
The Line will be the size of almost 2,800 Trade Centers arranged in a row, followed by two more rows of those same buildings touching the first one!
With 150 levels and over 55.4 billion square feet of space stacked high, the superstructure will cover an area of more than 1,987 square miles (5,146 square kilometers). With a similar population, that is around three times larger than the land area of London, UK.
Residencing in the Line
The Line will seem like an unending reflective glass wall that shimmers in the distance from the outside. Imagine the interior as a massive shopping center with residences, offices, and retail establishments on either side. There will be a central courtyard with trees, water features, and public transportation running down its center. Skyways will link the building’s two halves. It will be car-free in the city. Basic services will be accessible to every inhabitant in five minutes on foot and in no more than twenty minutes by rail from any location.
Robots will perform much of the physical labor: making deliveries, caregiving, logistics, and (insert sinister music) security. Despite Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves, solar and wind energy will power the metropolis. This is viewed as a global example of sustainable development by Saudi Arabia. But it also is part of a goal to make its own economy less oil-dependent.
Is it a dystopia or a utopia?
If you believe in the future, these plans may make you ecstatic. It sounds a lot like having everything you need to live comfortably on a spaceship. This new metropolis may pave the way for a more comfortable and economical way of living. It might also assist us in creating the plans we’ll need to colonize other planets in the future.
People on spaceships are never allowed to have peaceful lives in the movies. Every time, something goes wrong. And a massive undertaking like The Line might experience the same thing. Nobody is sure how it will impact the behavior patterns of the species in the desert that is unable to avoid it. The technology will be the only thing the system depends on. Important systems could fail due to human mistake, hostile foreign nations, or hackers. Since there are so many individuals close to one another, pandemics may spread more quickly. In the event of an emergency evacuation, it would be difficult to survive outside the city’s gates due to its desolate location.
The ability of this future metropolis to keep an eye on its residents’ lives will be one of its worrisome features. Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights is appalling. Abuse is possible with regards to facial recognition technologies, data tracking, extensive video monitoring, and security robots. The city’s layout makes it easy to isolate particular areas for security or emergency situations. While this could occasionally be justified, it would also make it far too simple to repress calm citizens. If so, The Line might be an exciting site to visit in the future, but it’s not a place you’d want to call home.