DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince yesterday unveiled plans to build a zero carbon city at Neom, the first major construction project for the $500 billion flagship business zone aimed at diversifying the economy of the world’s largest oil exporter.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a televised appearance, said the city, known as ‘The Line’, would extend over 170 kilometres and be able to house one million residents in “carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100 per cent clean energy”.
“Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development?” Prince Mohammed said. “We need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one.”
There have been few announcements regarding Neom since it was first announced by Prince Mohammed to much fanfare in 2017 as a pillar of his Vision 2030 plan to rid the Saudi Arabia of its reliance on crude revenues.
A Saudi statement said construction would start in the first quarter of 2021 and that the city was expected to contribute $48 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product and create 380,000 jobs. No value was announced for the project.
Prince Mohammed outlined key highlights of the city: zero cars, zero streets, zero carbon emissions and Artificial Intelligence.
Neom, a 26,500 square km high-tech development with several zones, including an industrial and logistics areas, is planned for completion in 2025.