The Line: A City of the Future


Courtesy of Popular Mechanics

The Line is a proposed futuristic city in Saudi Arabia that will use technological advancements to help both the environment and people.

Tiana Salisbury, Photojournalist

Have you ever imagined a city with no cars or pollution and where everything you need to get to is within a short walking distance? “The Line” may bring these fantasies to reality. Proposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Line is said to be the first development of the NEOM project, an innovative megacity in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Although the plan for The Line has not been approved yet, its possibilities to improve living standards still excite many people.

As the name suggests, The Line will be built in the shape of a line that will stretch 170 kilometers (about 106 miles) across Saudi Arabia. Within The Line, there will also be three layers of development. The top layer is reserved for pedestrians and buildings. In an effort to be environmentally friendly, all man-made structures will be built around nature. All facilities will also be within a 5-minute walking distance, thus eliminating the need for roads and cars. The second layer will consist of the city’s services and infrastructure. The third layer is for the transportation of both people and goods. Each journey is said to take no more than 20 minutes, saving commuting time for many future residents.

The most prominent feature of The Line is that it is said to have zero carbon emissions. The elimination of cars and other vehicles plays a big part in this, and The Line will function by using energy from renewable sources. By building around nature, The Line will also protect ecosystems in Saudi Arabia from being destroyed due to industry. Megan Chou (10) responds to this and says that “it is important for megacities like this to build around nature since many people are becoming ignorant about the world around them.”

In addition to the environmental benefits, The Line also creates economic opportunities. As of now, the Saudi Arabian economy relies heavily on the exportation of oil. With the Line, Saudi Arabia will be able to diversify its economy with new jobs. The Line is expected to attract people from around the world who will help contribute to the economy. 

Although the plans for The Line seem to be very beneficial, there has been a lot of criticism about it. Many people have said that plans for The Line appear to be very unrealistic. Gregg Carlstrom, a reporter for the Economist, writes that The Line “seems like it was dreamed up by a Saudi official who watched a sci-fi movie.” Regardless of the criticism, construction of The Line is said to start early this year. Construction of The Line will bring us a step closer to creating a more sustainable and convenient way of life.