Home World Saudi Arabia slammed over 'ludicrous' new £1tn mega-city that's 'completely pointless'

Saudi Arabia slammed over 'ludicrous' new £1tn mega-city that's 'completely pointless'

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans for The Line, a centerpiece of the futuristic Neom megacity, have faced significant criticism from architects and designers, including some involved in its initial development.

The project, featuring two parallel mirrored skyscrapers, has been called into question regarding its environmental impact, practicality, and overall utility.

Andreas Krieg, a Gulf specialist at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, described The Line as “completely ludicrous.”

“The Line is a project that is not sustainable; it’s a completely ludicrous megaproject that was never realizable because of the sheer cost of it”, he told Business Insider.

He added that while some areas of Neom have clear objectives, the central city “has no real purpose” or “benefit.”

In addition to The Line, the megacity includes plans for an octagonal floating city with a sustainable port, a luxury island resort, and a ski and adventure mountain range.

Despite these grand designs, Krieg emphasized the need for a realistic plan to attract investors, saying: “From a commercial statecraft strategy point of view, Neom is a very viable project and has a lot going for it.

“But you need to have a plan of how it can be realized to attract investors, and the Saudis are still falling short of that.”

Recent reports indicate that plans for the megacity have been scaled back. Initially, The Line was expected to accommodate 9 million people by 2030, but Bloomberg reports that this estimate has been reduced to fewer than 300,000 people by that date. Additionally, the project’s costs have raised concerns.

Executives working on Neom have dismissed the official Saudi estimate of $500 billion (£393 bn) as unrealistically low. The first 1.5 miles of The Line alone is projected to cost more than $100 billion (£78 bn), according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.

“The world has never seen anything like The Line”, Krieg said. “There hasn’t been a single project that would have consumed so many resources and had no real purpose.”

The project has also faced criticism from prominent architects. Last year, British architect Peter Cook, who is involved in the project, described the city as an “amazing absurdity,” and criticized the proposed height as “a bit stupid and unreasonable” in comments reported by the Architects Journal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here