NEOM Zero Gravity Vertical City: First announced in 2017, NEOM has consistently raised eyebrows for proposed flourishes such as flying taxis and robotic maids, even as architects and economists questioned its viability.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz recently unveiled the design of a zero-carbon city called NEOM, which is touted as “the world’s first zero-gravity vertical city” that spans 170 kilometers (over 100 miles) and is “zero cars, zero pollution and zero carbon emissions”.
According to the latest revelations on the project by the de facto ruler of the state, the megacity will consist of two skyscrapers spread over desert and mountainous terrain.
Parallel structures of mirror-fringed skyscrapers known collectively as The Line form the heart of Red Sea megacity NEOM, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s bid to diversify the Gulf state’s oil-dependent economy. There is a panel.
NEOM City of Saudi Arabia
However, analysts noted that NEOM’s plans have changed course over the years, raising doubts about whether the line will ever become a reality.
In a presentation Monday night, Prince Mohammed outlined an even more ambitious vision, describing a car-free utopia that would “by far” become the most livable city on the planet.
NEOM was once known as a regional “Silicon Valley”, a biotech and digital hub that covers 26,500 square kilometers (10,000 sq mi).
It is now a means to re-imagine urban life within just 34 square kilometres, and what Prince Mohammed describes as “living ability and an environmental crisis”.
“The concept has changed so much from its initial concept that it is sometimes difficult to determine its direction: scaling, scaling, or turning aggressively sideways,” said Robert Mogielnicki of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
A promotional video released Monday said the site would be powered by 100 percent renewable energy and feature “a year-round temperate micro-climate with natural ventilation.”
NEOM is well positioned to harness solar and wind power, and plans are also underway for the city to host the world’s largest green hydrogen plant, said Torbjörn Solvat of the risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft.
“But the viability of NEOM as a whole is still unclear given the unprecedented scale and cost of the project,” he said.