Saudi Arabia recently announced plans for an ambitious urban project called The Line—a one-building city in the desert that will stretch 170 kilometers (106 miles) long and only 200 meters (656 feet) wide.
Part of a mega-development dubbed Neom, The Line reportedly will house 9 million residents on a footprint of just 34 square kilometers (13 square miles). “This will reduce the infrastructure footprint and create never-before-seen efficiencies in city functions,” according to an official statement. The narrow footprint will preserve 95% of the Neom development’s land.
The Line’s design aims to challenge the traditional design of urban environments. Unlike cities that comprise horizontal buildings spread across fairly flat terrains, The Line will vertically layer homes, schools, workplaces, public parks, and pedestrian areas. This design will allow residents to access all of the structure’s facilities within a five-minute walk. In addition, a high-speed rail will allow occupants to travel from one end of The Line to the other in only 20 minutes.
“The designs revealed today for the city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also chair of the Neom board of directors, said in the July 25 statement. “The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”
At 500 meters above sea level, The Line also will boast a mirror façade that reflects the desert, blending the building with the surrounding landscape. With a year-round controlled climate, the Line also intends to run on entirely renewable energy.