The crown prince of Saudi Arabia has released plans to construct a zero-carbon city at NEOM, the first major construction project for the US$500 billion flagship business zone aimed at diversifying the economy of the world’s largest oil exporter. Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that the zero-carbon city known as “The Line” will extend over 170 km and would be able to house a million residents in “carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy”. He then went on to give the report that the project took 3 years in preparation and its infrastructure would cost $100 billion to $200 billion to bring it to reality.
He stated that “the backbone of investment in ‘The Line’ will come from the $500 billion support to NEOM by the Saudi government, PIF and local and global investors over 10 years,” The Saudi Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is the main investor in NEOM, a 26,500-square-km high-tech development on the Red Sea with several zones, including an industrial and logistics areas, that is expected to complete construction in 2025. An official Saudi report stated that construction would start in the first quarter of 2021 and that the city was expected to contribute US$48 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product and create 380,000 jobs.
“Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars, and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90% of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting.” stated the Crown Prince.