Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launches new city at Saudi Arabia's Neom

Plans for 'The Line' include a population of one million and a city that will be fully pedestrianised

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday revealed plans for a new city at the Neom megaproject on the Red Sea coast.

The pedestrianised city will have a million residents and be 170 kilometres long. It will seek to preserve almost all of the nature to be found within the site, which is  in the north-west.

Plans for the city include no cars or streets and "zero carbon emissions", Prince Mohammed said. Construction will begin before the end of March.

Prince Mohammed, who is chairman of the board of the Neom Company, said that 'The Line' has been designed to allow residents to "fulfil all of their daily requirements within a five-minute walk". The city can be travelled end-to-end in 20 minutes, he said.

"Cities prioritised machines, cars and factories over people ... Even in cities that claim to be the world's most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting," Prince Mohammed said.

"Why should we accept wasting years of people's lives commuting? Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development?"

"We need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one," he said.

The city will be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy and the cost of infrastructure would be 30 per cent cheaper compared to more traditional cities.

Prince Mohammed said more details would be revealed about the project at a later date. The Saudi Press Agency said the city would be a "170km belt of hyper-connected future communities" and feature "ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions".

The site of the $500bn Neom project in the Tabuk province of north-western Saudi Arabia. Image: SCTH
The site of the $500bn Neom project in the Tabuk province of north-western Saudi Arabia. Image: SCTH

"All essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk," the agency reported.

Neom is the flagship project of Saudi Arabia's post-oil diversification plan known as Vision 2030 that seeks to reduce the country's reliance on hydrocarbons. It is being overseen by the Public Investment Fund and is set to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and contribute tens of billions of dollars to the kingdom's GDP.

Neom spans 26,500 square kilometres. It will contain towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports venues, entertainment sites and tourist destinations. The bulk of construction  will take place over the next decade, with a target of hosting one million residents by 2030.