The City of the Future: All You Need To Know About Saudi Arabia’s NEOM

Said to be the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is now investing $500 billion in a futuristic metropolis called “NEOM,” to mainly distance itself from its heavy reliance on oil and reduce the country’s reliance on hydrocarbons. Neom is said to lead the global stage in creating a new model for sustainable living. Its name has a larger meaning according to Al Arabiya with the first three letters “NEO” derived from a Latin word that signifies “new” the fourth character “M” stands for “Mostaqbal,” which in Arabic means “future.”

NEOM is a unique, highly central geographic location on the Red Sea coast in the northwest province of Tabuk. It complies with Saudi Vision 2030, which is a strategic framework aimed at reducing Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil, diversifying its economy, and developing public-sector areas such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism. According to Time Out Jeddah, the Red Sea already carries 10 percent of the world’s trade, and project leaders believe that NEOM is only a four-hour flight away from 40 percent of the world. This not only makes it very accessible to tourists but also provides direct access to both international and Saudi markets for company owners and investors. From the Red Sea coast to the desert, NEOM will foster the construction of towers that will house a mix of residential, retail, and office space. It will also include smart towns and cities, ports, a network of airports (including one of the world’s largest international airports), industrial districts, research centers, sports and entertainment facilities.

Serving wine, cocktails, and champagne 

According to Arabian Business, a beach resort on Sindalah Island, part of the NEOM Economic Area, is aiming to serve wine, cocktails, and champagne when it debuts the next year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the resort’s plans include a retail wine shop, a premium wine bar, a separate cocktail bar, and a bar for “champagne and desserts.” Once completed, this exquisite beachfront resort will serve as one of Neom’s first premier attractions, the focal point of the Kingdom’s $1 trillion tourism investment plan, and a key component of the larger Vision 2030 initiative, which primarily aims to diversify the country’s economy.

The Line & TROJENA

“The Line,” a proposed smart linear metropolis, and “TROJENA,” a new year-round tourism attraction, are two key initiatives that have piqued the world’s interest. The Line, one of NEOM’s primary initiatives, will be a completely green, AI-enabled cognitive city. With the purpose of improving the lives of its one million residents, the development will be based on cutting-edge technology and will place a strong emphasis on key characteristics like walkability, livability, health, and wellbeing according to Time Out Jeddah.

Additionally, The Line will be backed by a novel, completely integrated underground structure that will house all modes of transportation, networks, and necessary utilities. Residents will navigate their way around the urban landscape via an ultra-high-speed, zero-carbon mass transit system, which will take less than 20 minutes to complete every journey in NEOM.

On the other hand, TROJENA will be a significant contribution to regional tourism, serving as a model for how Saudi Arabia is developing destinations based on its geographical and environmental diversity. According to Construction Week, this forward-thinking concept will ensure that mountain tourism will be a new revenue stream to help the Kingdom’s economic diversification while also safeguarding the Kingdom’s natural riches for future generations. It will have unique architecture, with NEOM mountain sceneries coexisting in harmony with tourist attractions constructed within them, providing a fresh and unmatched adventure and outdoor tourism experience that embodies the future of living, working, and entertainment in NEOM.

World’s largest buildings

Another concept involves constructing the world’s largest buildings as part of the NEOM megacity project. According to Al Arabiya, two towers around 500 meters tall with a horizontal span of tens of miles are in the works. The skyscrapers would run from the Red Sea coast to the desert. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at 828 meters (2,717 feet), is currently the world’s tallest man-made tower, but they want to beat it.

First desalination plant powered by renewable energy 

ENOWA, a subsidiary of NEOM, has struck a deal last week with ITOCHU of Japan and Veoila of France to create a first-of-its-kind desalination facility. The plant will have a production capacity of 500,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day when it is finished in 2025, accounting for around 30 percent of NEOM’s total estimated water demand. ENOWA’s efforts to develop a sustainable and abundant water supply for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors in NEOM will be reflected in this new facility.

First edition of the hackathon

In collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Education, the industrial hub of NEOM, Oxagon, launched the inaugural iteration of its hackathon. This project intends to help entrepreneurs develop their unique ideas into successful start-up enterprises while working under the guidance of subject-matter experts in diverse industries. It will center on four industries that reflect the NEOM industrial goals of technology in service to people, water innovation developing long-term solutions to water scarcity challenges, green hydrogen, and e-fuels, both of which support the Kingdom’s commitment to investigating alternative sources of clean energy according to Arab News.

NEOM’s ENOWA partners with AutoGrid to design digital energy platform

According to Arab News, AutoGrid and NOWA, NEOM’s subsidiary for energy, water, and hydrogen, have teamed together to co-design AutoGrid’s digital energy platform. ENOWA said that the relationship with AutoGrid will first concentrate on defining the guiding principles, data model, and integration structure of the company’s operating system in a post on LinkedIn. According to Jens Madrian, executive director of energy at ENOWA, “ENOWA is out to establish a 100% renewable energy system, embedded within an AI-powered digital energy platform.”

One thing to keep in mind is that NEOM is presented on its official website as a “mindset” that aspires to promote a diverse society, “citizens of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking, and diversity,” according to the website, “all supported by a progressive legal system compatible with international norms and conducive to economic growth.” This approach isn’t the only thing that distinguishes NEOM; as by 2030, the city is predicted to be home to a million people according to Vogue.

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