The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced ambitious plans to build a $500 billion technological megacity “the size of a country” that will be run entirely of renewable energy sources. Known as NEOM, the innovation hub will cover a 10,232-square-mile (26,500-square-kilometer) area in the northwest of the country along the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba. The city is planned to extend into neighboring Egypt and Jordan, making it the first private zone to span three countries.
Envisioned as a center for technology and business, NEOM will focus on nine economic sectors for innovation: Energy and Water; Mobility; Biotech; Food; Advanced Manufacturing; Media; Entertainment; Technological and Digital Sciences; and ‘Living as NEOM’s Foundation.’
Building the city will require the ground-up construction of all new infrastructure system, which will be geared toward maximum efficiency and sustainability. One of the city’s core pillars, mobility, will encompass the construction of a 100% green transportation system and the King Salman Bridge linking Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Located in an optimal area for harvesting solar and wind resources, the city is to be powered entirely by green energy sources.
Not simply a tech park, NEOM is being billed as a luxury lifestyle community, with top-of-the-line restaurants and entertainment options. The website even mentions plans for “glittering marinas,” “record-breaking themeparks,” “endless parkland,” and “the world’s largest garden.”
In addition to meeting goals outlined by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, NEOM will also focus on developing six main ‘Futuristic Concepts’:
- HUMAN BEINGS AS A TOP PRIORITY: NEOM provides its residents with comfortable living conditions set within an idyllic society that promotes inclusion and encourages personal growth and lives by world-class social norms
- THE NEXT GENERATION OF HEALTHY LIVING AND TRANSPORT: NEOM will allow its residents to reach many locations via walking or biking and also have an unprecedented transportation infrastructure, built on future transportation technologies
- AUTOMATED SERVICES/ E-GOVERNMENT: NEOM government services will be fully automated and most easily accessible to its residents
- DIGITIZATION: NEOM will provide its residents “digital air”, free highest-speed internet and free online continuous education at their fingertips
- SUSTAINABILITY: NEOM will be solely powered by renewable energy and buildings will have a net zero carbon footprint
- INNOVATION IN CONSTRUCTION: Serving as a laboratory for innovative construction techniques and materials operating with complete flexibility to meet future requirements
The project will be funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, and a range of private and international investors. While specific designs and plans for implementation are still vague, according to an infographic on NEOM’s website, construction on the project is already underway, with completion of the first stage slated for the end of 2025.
See the full website, here.