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Plans unveiled for 100-mile long, 200 metre wide 'mirrored' vertical city

Metro logo Metro 7/27/2022 Katherine Hignett
Caption: Saudi Arabia wants to build a 100-mile long, 1,600ft tall mirrored ‘vertical’ city Credit : AFP © Provided by Metro Caption: Saudi Arabia wants to build a 100-mile long, 1,600ft tall mirrored ‘vertical’ city Credit : AFP

Saudi Arabia is planning to build an entire city along a single line 100 miles long and just 200m wide.

Flanked by 500m high mirrored walls, officials say the megastructure will offer up to 9 million residents a temperate climate and short commutes, all powered by 100% renewable energy.

Named ‘the Line,’ Saudi officials say the project is ‘the city of the future’: a car-free metropolis that will run on 100% renewable energy and offer its residents clean air in an ever more polluted world.

It’s designed to host businesses as well as housing inside numerous vertically-stacked neighbourhoods, with residents facing a maximum commute of 20 minutes from one end of the city to the other.

Saudi Arabia wants to build an entire city within two massive, mirror-encased skyscrapers that extend over 170 kilometres of desert and mountain terrain (Credit: Getty) © Provided by Metro Saudi Arabia wants to build an entire city within two massive, mirror-encased skyscrapers that extend over 170 kilometres of desert and mountain terrain (Credit: Getty) Officials say the design would also benefit the natural world (Credit: Getty) © Provided by Metro Officials say the design would also benefit the natural world (Credit: Getty) The mirrored utopia could be home to 9 million people (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro The mirrored utopia could be home to 9 million people (Picture: Getty) The city is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious ‘Neom’ project (Picture: AFP) © Provided by Metro The city is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious ‘Neom’ project (Picture: AFP)

Saudia Arabia’s press agency released a clip of the latest designs for the city on Monday. They show a sleek, futuristic and surprisingly green utopia, with a rooftop garden and ‘equitable views’ from any point.

Officials say the design would also benefit the natural world, using a minimal amount of land. It also places residents close to dramatic desert landscapes, rock formations and the ocean.

The city is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious ‘Neom’ project: a ‘sustainable regional development’ spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In recent years, he has been trying to change perceptions of a country that, from 1957 until 2018, did not allow women to drive.

The ‘M’ in Neom is intended to reference the crown prince, as well as the first letter of the Arabic word for future (mustaqbal).

No official price tag has been put on the project yet, but £200 billion is being raised by Saudi Arabia (Picture: Getty) © Provided by Metro No official price tag has been put on the project yet, but £200 billion is being raised by Saudi Arabia (Picture: Getty) It’s designed to host businesses as well as housing inside numerous vertically-stacked neighbourhoods (Picture: AFP) © Provided by Metro It’s designed to host businesses as well as housing inside numerous vertically-stacked neighbourhoods (Picture: AFP) The city’s neighborhoods would host plenty of green spaces (Credits: Getty) © Provided by Metro The city’s neighborhoods would host plenty of green spaces (Credits: Getty)

It’s not yet clear exactly how much the megacity would cost to build, when it would be completed nor how expensive property will be. But Saudi Arabia wants to raise in the region of £200 billion for the Neom region, including The Line.

Much of this would be government-funded, but a decent chunk will also be sought from the market.

But it’s already proven highly controversial. Although marketing images make Neom look like an empty desert, it is in fact home to local tribes who have been forcibly relocated for the project, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The city will provide spectacular views of the surrounding desert (Credit: Getty) © Provided by Metro The city will provide spectacular views of the surrounding desert (Credit: Getty) Officials say the city will run on 100% renewable energy (Credit: Getty) © Provided by Metro Officials say the city will run on 100% renewable energy (Credit: Getty) The planned city is shown from above in this design image (Credits: Getty) © Provided by Metro The planned city is shown from above in this design image (Credits: Getty)

Last year, the publication reported Neom employees were leaving in droves as the project became mired in delays and massive overspending.

Aside from the politics, debates over how practical — or desirable — a city like The Line really is are rife on Twitter.

Some users said called the city ‘dystopian’, with one tweeting: ‘Neom will make for a nice post-apocalyptic ruin.’

Others likened it to sci-fi concepts like the eternally running Earth-circling train of ‘Snowpiercer.’

And some referenced scandals that have long dogged Saudi Arabia, like the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The futuristic megacity has been likened to sci-fi concepts such as Snowpiercer (Credit: Getty) © Provided by Metro The futuristic megacity has been likened to sci-fi concepts such as Snowpiercer (Credit: Getty)

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