Last month, HRH of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed bin Salman introduced THE LINE at NEOM – an astonishing revolution in urban living designed around health, wellness and environmental principles.

Last month, we were rather intrigued by a series of mysterious adverts broadcasted for something called ‘THE LINE’. The advert didn’t reveal much, but it did state that the contemporary city needed a re-design. With sustainability being one of our principal values at Westbury, we decided to find out more.

After Googling ‘what is the line’ and quickly glancing over the website, we discovered that THE LINE is a highly innovative, revolutionary urban design model planned for Saudi Arabia in 2030, with construction due to commence at the beginning of this year. An exciting vision of what the future could look like, THE LINE is to be powered by 100% clean energy. It will be completely free of cars and streets, with residents living alongside nature with all their daily needs accessible within a five-minute walk.

Where is THE LINE to be built?

NEOM is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, currently being built from the ground up as a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for a new, revolutionised future. It will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. It will be a destination and a home for more than a million people from around the world, ideal for anyone who believes that exceptional liveability and environmental conservation should be the norm.

‘Contemporary cities need a complete re-design.’

At a time when most cities are polluted and crammed with traffic and people using existing legacy infrastructures no longer fit for purpose, THE LINE is a direct call to arms against some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today. Having the opportunity to create a new urban environment from scratch, the innovative experts at the helm of the project offer a model that encourages a happier, healthier, eco-friendly and sustainable future.

“Throughout history, humankind built cities to protect its citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritised machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that we usually view as being 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?” – HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman

For the first time, developers have designed a significant urban development around people, not roads. The city will have an invisible infrastructure, with two ‘backbone’ levels under the surface. With transportation, utilities, digital infrastructure, and logistics all seamlessly integrated into dedicated spaces underground, people can enjoy a traffic-free city. Walkability will define day-to-day life, with all essential daily services and green spaces accessible within a five-minute walk. An efficient ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solution are simple and straightforward to use, meaning that travel along the line is quicker. Journey times to everyday places like schools, business hubs, medical clinics, leisure facilities, and nature are kept to a minimum.

Communities built around nature, not over it.

THE LINE will be home to a million residents living along a 170km road-free and car-free strip, where people and nature can co-exist in harmony and 95% of NEOM’s natural landscape is preserved. THE LINE’S design allows pedestrians to reclaim the space once occupied by congested roads, with a unique underground infrastructure working in harmony with the environment. No matter where you live along THE LINE, you can enjoy views of impressive natural vistas and have close access to green spaces.

Protecting biodiversity and conserving the environment is at the heart of the project from the earliest stage. It’s not even a case of minimising the carbon footprint; it’s about building an urban environment from scratch that reverses the effects of excessive agriculture and restores the natural abundance of the native flora and fauna. During development, strict environmental controls are in place to preserve NEOM’s natural environment and rich heritage. No construction activity is possible unless it has met stringent international sustainability criteria, which have been built around the standards expected for a Circular Carbon Economy.

A new way of living and working

THE LINE is intended to be a hub for innovation, attracting global business and emerging players with spaces where they can research, incubate and commercialise ground-breaking technologies to accelerate human progress. By integrating commerce and industry into the heart of future communities, THE LINE will help reimagine supply chains and facilitate new and better ways of working.

The high-speed transformation network will make long and stressful commutes a thing of the past. It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes, making it easy and stress-free to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Time is a precious resource, something that we always seem short of in our busy, modern lives. Residents at THE LINE will find that they naturally have more time to spend for themselves or with family and friends, doing more activities in nature that promote happiness and wellbeing.

‘What if sustainability wasn’t a goal, but a given.’

Redefining sustainability, THE LINE will comprise of carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents. Communities will be powered by various renewable energy types, allowing industry back into the heart of communities and creating an environment free from pollution.

Using innovative design to work sustainably and reduce our carbon footprint is something we take very seriously, so we’ll be very interested to see how THE LINE progresses. With the opportunity to build something from scratch comes the chance to learn from our past mistakes and use innovation to improve. There are always more opportunities for us to live harmoniously with the natural environment, and hopefully, the rest of the world will watch this development with interest. For further information about THE LINE, visit http://www.NEOM.com.