A city within a structure 170 km long?

That is the new city project they want to build in Saudi Arabia. A city within a structure 500 meters high, 200 meters wide, and 170 km long.

They call it “The Line” and it aims to revolutionize the shape of the cities of the future. It is a huge project that they want to have finished by the year 2025, and that can offer housing to 9 million people, which is 25% of the current population of Saudi Arabia.

The focus of the city is that it be totally sustainable, that people find their basic needs on foot within 5 minutes, and that it is possible to go from one end to the other of the 170 km in no more than 20 minutes of internal high-speed transport. and non-polluting.

It is a totally new concept and it is not clear how they are going to approach it. The logical thing would seem to do it in several phases along the 170 km length, but then it would not be possible to finish it by the year 2025.

Seen on the ground, the city ( The Line ) will occupy an area of 34 km2 and will be home to 9 million people. In comparison, the Community of Madrid has 604 km2, and its population is around 6 million people. Which means that the physical use of the land of The Line is much more efficient than that of current cities. But it remains to be seen whether people like to live within a compact structure,

This city will have an airport and a port to communicate with the rest of the world, and for a few years it will be the center of great interest from companies, businesses and others. I have no doubt that the area will be activated, what I am not so clear about is if they will be able to convince 9 million people to go live there.

Saudi Arabia has a lot of money, and this project can attract many people, since it is a huge world novelty, and it seems clear that there will be a before and after its construction. And what seems clear is that everyone will have their eyes on the project to see how it evolves.

An explanation of the project is given in the following video:

I have read that this idea is based on the “linear city” that the Spanish architect and urban planner Arturo Soria planned around 1880, and that was later built in Madrid. It is an area of Madrid that I know well, but the Saudi friends have taken a huge and ambitious step forward, doing something totally different and new.

I don’t know if I would like to live in a city like The Line. I think not. I like to see the sky and walk outdoors between buildings that are not too tall.

It is good to take advantage of the space and live in a sustainable way, but that could also be done without going to the “extreme” of The Line, with the idea of having our basic needs covered in an environment of 15 minutes on foot or by non-polluting public transport.

I wish the Saudi friends the best, although their idea seems a bit exaggerated to me. Time will tell.

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Amador Palacios

I am an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. I like to reflect on Technological and Social issues