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Experts outline why Saudi Arabia's $1 trillion 75 miles long skyscraper is a bad idea
Featured Image Credit: NEOM

Experts outline why Saudi Arabia's $1 trillion 75 miles long skyscraper is a bad idea

Whilst NEOM might be a bold vision of the future, experts have raised concerns about the Saudi megacity.

It’s billed as the city of the future, but experts fear that Saudi Arabia’s new megacity will be bad for residents.

Currently under construction in the Middle East, NEOM is an ambitious project which would see a pair of 75-mile-long (120km) skyscrapers stretch across the desert.

Despite having a price tag of $1 trillion, many are concerned about the new city and the residents' ‘quality of life’.

Developed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the proposed city veers into the realm of science fiction with its ambitious plan.

Early visions for the 'smart' city have included things like flying cars and robotic butlers looking after residents' needs. (Yes, really.)

If that weren’t impressive enough, the project - nicknamed ‘The Line’ - will feature two parallel skyscrapers which form the city’s singular street and provide residents with amenities – all within a five-minute distance.

While the megacity might be a bold vision of the future, the Complexity Science Hub has raised concerns about the project in a recent paper.

The Saudi city has raised concerns among experts.

Though facilities will be close by, experts fear that it will be nearly impossible for residents to access schools, work and loved ones – who may be spread throughout the megacity.

Even if NEOM residents were evenly distributed, the paper claims that the average distance between two random people would be 35 miles (57km) due to its linear shape.

If the same principle were applied to Johannesburg though, they would only be 20 miles (35km) apart.

Having crunched the numbers on the new build, experts revealed that this could have a massive impact on quality of life.

"Keeping the surface fixed, a line is the contiguous urban form that maximises the distance between its inhabitants. In The Line, people are as far away from others as possible," explained the paper.

NEOM is expected to be complete by 2030.

Though the city has over 80 proposed train stations, residents could still face commutes of over 60 minutes.

With this and concerns over NEOM’s energy consumption, the Complexity Science Hub has provided a staggeringly simple solution – make the city into a circle.

With this design, the megacity would only have a radius of two miles (3.3km) meaning that most people could reach 24 percent of the population within 1.2 miles.

The simple change in the megacity’s design would also mean that residents would be more mobile, as they could walk or cycle the short distance.

However, NEOM’s construction is powering ahead with the city set to open in 2030.

Only then will Saudi Arabia’s citizens really know if home is where the heart is.

Topics: World News, Travel