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17 March 2023 | Posted by angela.tuduri

The line: The project that will revolutionize the construction industry

NEOM is making progress in the construction of what is already known as the city of the future.

The line, a 150km long linear city that will be home to more than one million inhabitants, is starting construction in Saudi Arabia. The largest project - in terms of construction - seen to date and under construction since October 2022, it aims to erect a linear city 200 meters wide and 500 meters high.  

The construction company NEOM, in charge of leading the project, aims to build the largest sustainable city ever seen in the middle of the desert.    

The project, which aims to revolutionize the construction of cities of the future, will use clean energy and renewable resources, implementing a model of zero carbon emissions, unique and never established in cities.   

How is a project of this magnitude developed? We will tell you in this post.   

Vertical cities - past or future?  

This is not the first time we have heard the concept of a linear or vertical city in the construction industry or in urban project management.  

In 1965 the idea of building a linear, sustainable and efficient city began to be speculated in the USA. In recent years - and with the advent of the technological revolution and increased innovation in this sector - new similar initiatives have emerged. In addition to the technological aspects, today's environmental terms are also important in construction.  

Another example that served as an object of study was the city of Kowloon (China). Its dense and unregulated urbanization model, it came to house more than 50,000 people per hectare. Architects and urban planners have used Kowloon as an example of the limitations and risks of extreme densification, and from this experience, alternative models of vertical cities have been proposed that seek to improve the quality of life and sustainability of urban communities.  

The designs unveiled today for vertically layered communities in the city will challenge traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for preserving nature and enhancing human livability.”

- Mohammed bin Salaman

Xiong'an City, a smart city that will serve as China's innovation and technology hub and is expected to be completed in 2049 is the clear example of innovation in construction. Reinforcing more than 60 Chinese locations, it will become the most technological, connected and environmental city in the country, housing more than 25 million inhabitants.   

Therefore, although similar projects have been attempted in the past, NEOM's scale and ambition make it a unique and unprecedented project in the history of urban development. 

The Line - NEOM   

The heir of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salaman, recognized for being the ideologist of the project, pursues - since 2017 - the idea of building a linear and sustainable city that will help improve the quality of life of people, without damaging the environment in the northwest of Arabia, at the foot of the Red Sea and the Suez Strait.  

Covering a total of 27,000 km², the city will be designed to become a center of innovation and a model for sustainable urban development in cities of the future.  

But how do you build a 100% sustainable vertical city?  

The project - characteristics and development  

Set to be a model for the future in sustainable urban development, The Line will use advanced technologies to enhance the use of renewable energy, focusing on environmental preservation and carbon footprint reduction.   

The city is based on three main pillars: sustainability, technology and quality of life.”

- NEOM, builder company

Accessibility was also an important factor in the development of the project. The city is expected to be affordable for everyone, including basic necessities within it. Facilities and services, shopping malls, restaurants, schools, hospitals... the new city will be vehicle-free, focusing on public and pedestrian transportation within ten years (2030) and accommodating more than 1.5 million people.   

NEOM is designed to be a global collaboration space, where people from all over the world can collaborate on today's challenges. Thus we include the international factor in the megaproject equation.   

The Line will focus on creating a new, technological and sustainable city model that increases people's quality of life, making it a center of innovation and global collaboration. 

A new city model - everything 15 minutes away  

The construction of this project has brought with it the development of new city models, more sustainable and efficient with our ecosystem.   

Urban planning is changing. The passage of the pandemic has left its mark on new ways of relating, traveling, working... creating new models that are gaining popularity in the last decade.   

Among these models, we find the "15-minute cities".   

Promoted by urban planner Carlos Moreno, the aim of these cities is to satisfy needs, such as work, shopping, education, health care and entertainment, within a 15-minute radius on foot or by public transport.    

The idea, which is already starting to be implemented in current city models such as Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen, will encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport, reducing air pollution, noise and traffic.   

Sustainability, innovation and data science will be pillars in the evolution of the AECO sector”

- Juan Antonio Castro, director of the Project Management program.

NEOM's The Line project represents the futuristic vision of how cities can be designed and built to improve people's quality of life and protect the environment. An example of how innovation, sustainability and digital transformation can come together to create more livable and environmentally friendly cities.   

Related education and training   

If you are thinking of expanding your knowledge and training in a sector that leads projects of this scale, discover La Salle-URL's Training in Project Management and Direction in addition to the programs in Architecture and sustainable urbanism. 




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