Dreamscape Shrinks: Saudi Arabia Scales Back Ambitious Megacity Project

Saudi Arabia’s futuristic vision for THE LINE, a 170-kilometer long linear city in the desert, has been significantly downsized. The project, a centerpiece of the NEOM development zone, is now planned to be just 2.4 kilometers at launch. This dramatic scaling back raises questions about the feasibility of other ambitious urban megaprojects around the world.

THE LINE, envisioned as a high-tech utopia clad in reflective material, promised a sustainable and innovative living experience for millions. However, critics pointed to logistical challenges, environmental concerns, and the vast expense of such a project.

The scaling back suggests Saudi Arabia is taking a more cautious approach. NEOM itself, which also includes a planned tourist destination and industrial zone, may see further adjustments.

This news serves as a cautionary tale for other countries with grand visions of futuristic cities. While technological advancements offer exciting possibilities, the daunting realities of cost, climate change, and social integration must be carefully considered.

The future of NEOM and THE LINE remains to be seen, but the project’s downsizing offers valuable lessons for aspirational urban planning efforts globally.


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