At first glance, Saudi Arabia’s “The Line” sounds like a noble effort aimed at turning one of the world’s most fossil-fuel rich nations into a haven of renewable energy and sustainability. On second glance … what?! Presenting the idea for The Line as part of the Saudi government’s NEOM project, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman touted the environmental-friendliness of the proposed 170-kilometer (105-mile) city “with zero cars, zero streets, and zero emissions.”
The crux of the idea is that urban sprawl is bad and building in a straight line is the solution. It wouldn’t exactly be one continuous city so much as a series of neighborhoods or suburbs connected by green public transit. Stretching from the Red Sea near Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the Jordanian border, The Line would pass through coastal, coastal desert, mountain, and valley terrain and be home to about a million people from all over the world.
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