The future starts now? Drone footage shows construction beginning on Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity called The Line—a city planned to be 105 miles (170 kilometers) long that people can live and work in without ever leaving.
As another day of failed cryptocurrency companies and Big Brother watching us passes, it truly feels like we are inching ever-closer to a bleak future from a sci-fi novel—the only thing we’ve really been missing is a futuristic megalopolis. Saudi Arabia’s The Line caught headlines this past summer for its sleek and arguably unnecessary approach to a city—featuring a mirrored exterior that contains a completely self-contained city that is 546 yards (500 meters) tall, 218 yards (200 meters) wide, and a whopping 105 miles (170 kilometers) long. While the knee-jerk reaction was rampant skepticism over when and how this monstrosity would ever get off the ground, new footage from Saudi Arabia confirms that The Line is officially a work in progress.
The video was posted to YouTube by architecture news outlet Dezeen, but was shot by Saudi Arabian company Ot Sky. The drone footage is pretty devoid of details, but a triumphant soundtrack scores shots of construction equipment and trucks scattered throughout the desert as The Line’s massive footprint is dug out of the sand.
The Line is being brought to us by Neom, a company that is a sort of architecture, engineering, and sustainability amalgamation set up by the Saudi Arabian government to innovate the nation. In addition to the hyper thin and massively long footprint of The Line, Neom claims that the city will feature several neighborhoods walkable in only five minutes, end-to-end travel in 20 minutes, and a consistent micro-climate. Neom is also working in tandem on similar projects—which the company calls “regions”—named Oxagon and Trojena.
While no timeline for completion is in place, the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hinted at a potential completion date around 2030 in a Neom press release. But until I start seeing mirrors sticking out of the Saudi Arabian desert, The Line will continue to be a pipe dream.
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Of course, building a ginormous city doesn’t erase the many controversies surrounding bin Salman and the brutal monarchy that rules Saudi Arabia, including its contentious history marred by a bloody human rights record.