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Neom: Saudi Arabia’s Futuristic Megaproject Shaping the Future

Neom: Saudi Arabia’s Futuristic Megaproject Shaping the Future

Neom (styled NEOM) is an ambitious urban development project planned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its northwestern Tabuk Province. This groundbreaking initiative is set to transform the region, creating a new city that pushes the boundaries of innovation, sustainability, and urban living. In this article, we will delve into the grand plans, challenges, and controversies surrounding Neom.

A Bold Vision of the Future

Neom’s strategic location places it north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt (across the Gulf of Aqaba), and south of Jordan, giving it immense potential for regional trade and connectivity. The project aims to cover a staggering 26,500 kmĀ² (10,200 sq mi) area, encompassing various regions and zones with distinct purposes.

Key Regions and Ambitious Plans

1. The Floating Industrial Complex – Oxagon

Oxagon, also known as Neom Industrial City, is a unique floating industrial complex shaped like an octagon, situated approximately 25 kilometers (16 mi) north of Duba. It focuses on modern manufacturing, industrial research, and development, with a particular emphasis on expanding the Duba port. The visionary behind this concept, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, expects Oxagon to become a global trade hub, facilitating shipping routes through the Red Sea. The complex includes a desalination plant, hydrogen plant, and an oceanographic research center, showcasing Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable technologies.

2. The Linear City – The Line

The Line is a remarkable linear city within Neom, stretching an impressive 170 kilometers (110 mi) in length and 200 meters (660 ft) in width. This car-free city aims to be a model for environmentally conscious urban living, housing around nine million residents within walkable communities. The Line promises to deliver all essential services within a five-minute walking distance, setting new standards for convenience and sustainability.

3. Neom Bay and Neom Bay Airport

Neom Bay marks the first phase of the development, with the initial construction planned to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and completion targeted for 2020 (subject to updates). The ambitious project includes the construction of an airport in Sharma, connecting Riyadh and Neom through regular commercial flights.

4. Trojena – A Skiing Destination in the Desert

Trojena, launched in 2022, will be the Arabian Peninsula’s first major outdoor skiing destination, situated about 50 kilometers (31 mi) from the Gulf of Aqaba coast in the Sarwat Mountains. Although located in the desert, its elevation and microclimate make it suitable for skiing. Trojena partners with lifestyle and hospitality company Ennismore to offer unique experiences for visitors.

5. Sindalah – A Luxurious Coastal Resort

In December 2022, plans for Sindalah were announced, featuring a luxurious resort complex with an 86-berth marina, three luxury hotels, and a 9-hole golf course overlooking the sea. This resort aims to cater to discerning tourists, providing an exceptional vacation experience.

6. Agriculture and Utilities

Neom envisions utilizing 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) of surrounding land for agricultural purposes, with an emphasis on genetically engineered crops. To meet the city’s energy needs sustainably, a subsidiary named Enowa focuses on providing renewable energy, green hydrogen, and zero waste desalination.

Progress and Challenges

The Neom project, an integral part of Saudi Vision 2030, aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, foster economic diversification, and develop public-service sectors. Developers aspire to complete the majority of the city by 2039, but they have encountered delays and skepticism from experts about the project’s scale and timeline.

The project’s estimated cost exceeds $500 billion, reflecting its grand vision and ambition. Neom’s unique features, such as a reliance on wind and solar power and its autonomous judicial system, have attracted global attention and partnerships with prominent entities like Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team and McLaren Racing.

Controversies and Challenges Ahead

The development of Neom has not been without controversy. Concerns have been raised about the forced eviction of approximately 20,000 people to accommodate the project, particularly concerning the Howeitat tribe, native to the area. Human rights activists have criticized the treatment of local communities affected by the development.

Surveillance and data collection have also raised concerns, with Neom’s proposed use of artificial intelligence and data as a currency for managing city facilities drawing scrutiny from digital rights experts.

Conclusion

Neom represents an ambitious and unprecedented vision for the future, aiming to revolutionize urban living and set new standards for sustainability and innovation. While the project faces challenges and controversies, its potential to shape the future cannot be ignored. As Neom continues to evolve, it remains a testament to Saudi Arabia’s determination to create a city at the forefront of progress and development.

Neom: Saudi Arabia’s Futuristic Megaproject Shaping the Future

#Neom #SaudiArabia #FuturisticMegaproject #FutureVision

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