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The city of the future and the prince of hope

Mohammed Al Shaikh

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prince of hope, unveiled plans for launching ‘The Line’ smart city project as part of the futuristic NEOM megacity project. The Line, a revolution in urban living, will be self-sufficient, powered exclusively by renewable energy and 95 percent pollution free. This city will serve as an exemplary model for all the cities of the future.

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As a writer, what caught my attention most during the Crown Prince’s announcement of this visionary project, was his passion for innovation, modernity and excellence. HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appearance on the screen was uniquely unconventional and he delivered his speech in a remarkable manner that many Arabs described as unprecedented. Unlike traditional leaders, the prince made the wise choice of using simple and clear language that is closer in style to the language spoken by many of those targeted by this promising project and he relied on exceptional visual aids.


I was highly impressed with His Highness’s innovative and succinct announcement. For this reason, I am choosing to quote his speech that exudes modernity and hope. His Royal Highness said: “Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as the world's most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels.

Ninety percent of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?” His Royal Highness added: “Therefore, we need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one. Today, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, I present to you THE LINE. A city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95 percent of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions. You can fulfill your daily requirements within a 5-minute walk, and you can travel from end to end in 20 minutes, with 30 percent less infrastructure cost, 30 percent better quality products and 100 percent renewable energy. The LINE is a project that is a civilizational revolution that puts humans first. There will be plenty of details that will be unfolded at later stages.”


To my understanding, this futuristic city re-evaluates the concept of urban development through the development of communities in which the human being is its main pillar. These communities will be managed by relying on artificial intelligence techniques which aim to maintain the health and safety of individuals as well as serve and facilitate their daily needs. The city also ensures a modern and healthy environment by integrating nature into the heart of everyday living.

Finally, as I listened to His Highness, I swelled with great pride and I recalled a timeless historic moment in the history of the Saudi nation when King Abdulaziz first named the city of Riyadh as the Saudi capital more than 100 years ago. It seems that history is repeating itself and we are now witnessing one of the descendants of Saudi’s founding father reap the seeds sown by his grandfather by building the city of the future.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi Arabian outlet al-Jazirah.

Read more:

NEOM’s ‘THE LINE:’ An environmentally friendly, car-free city in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince reveals project ‘THE LINE’ in futuristic city of NEOM

Transcript: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince’s full speech at AlUla GCC Summit

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.