Plans for 170 km city cut to less than 3 km by 2030


Source: NEOM

Concept design for the 170km smart city planned in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has reportedly scaled back its plans to build a 170 km-long city in the desert. 

The oil-dependent state had at one point hoped 1.5 million people would live in The Line, a planned megastructure which would be longer than the distance between New York and Philadelphia and taller at some points than the Empire State Building. 

But according to a report by Bloomberg, citing “people familiar with the matter”, just 2.4km are now expected to be completed by 2030 and the intended population reduced to 300,000.

The Line, which lies within the broader NEOM development, is one of several mega projects brought forward by the Saudi state, which have attracted huge interest from businesses across the built environment in the UK 

In 2022, Crown Prince Mohammed said the first phase of Neom would cost $320bn by 2030, with half of that to come from his Public Investment Fund. 

According to a survey earlier this year by BD, Saudi Arabia was regarded as the most promising place by architects for growth by a considerable margin, jumping from fourth place the year prior. 


Source: NEOM

Inside the 170km smart city planned for Saudi Arabia

Architects which have worked on The Line include Morphosis, HOK, OMA, Cook Haffner Architecture Platform, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and LAVA.

> Also read: Saudi Arabia shows off concept designs for 170km smart city

Atkins Réalis and Jacobs were appointed as delivery partners on The Line last February, while Aecom and Bechtel were previously appointed to provide project management. 

Geotechnical engineer Keller completed its first contract for NEOM last year and at that time was still in discussions about a contract twice the size of its first £40m deal. 

Other names involved in the scheme include Mace and Plan A Consultants while the former head of Kier’s London and Southern region began working as an executive on part of the scheme last October.

It is unclear what impact the change in scope will have on the availability of work. According to Bloomberg, at least one contractor has started to dismiss some of its site workers as a result of the change.  

> Also read: Populous reveals proposals for clifftop stadium in Saudi Arabia