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Neom: The Pinnacle of Change
Sujith Vasudevan, Managing Editor
Remember the sky cities in all those Sci-Fi movies? Well, they might not be an impossible fantasy after all. Saudi Arabia is building something closer to them technology-paradises in one of the country's vast ranges of deserts. Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman aka MBS, is in the early stages of one of the largest and most difficult construction projects in history, which involves turning an expanse of the desert, the size of Belgium, into a high tech city region called Neom.
MBS is widely seen as an advocate of radical changes in the Arabian Peninsula--from his controversial political decisions, including allowing women to decide whether to wear robes and face veils, to his futuristic economic vision that now helps KSA see beyond the oil realm. Neom is his attempt to do something that's never been done before, and it's coming at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. Having earmarked a budget of $500 billion, MBS is determined to make Neom a showpiece that will transform Saudi Arabia's economy and serve as a testbed for technologies that could revolutionize daily life.
Neom is taking shape in Saudi Arabia's far northwest, stretching from the sun-scorched Red Sea coast into craggy mountain badlands. We are talking about the epitome of desserts with summer temperatures over 100F and almost no fresh water. But MBS has no doubt in his mind that it will soon be home to millions of people who'll live amidst a serene environment, relying on desalination plants and a fully renewable electric grid. In other words, NEOM will be a destination, a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working, and prospering.
Saudi announces $80bn fund to attract firms to Neom
Saudi Arabia has announced a 300bn riyal ($80bn) fund to kickstart investment in its futuristic $500bn city Neom.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said the Neom Investment Fund would support companies that set up there, according to Reuters.
The first phase of the project is expected to cost 1.2tn riyals ($319bn), half of which will come from the country’s Public Investment Fund.
Bin Salman told a presentation funding for the scheme would be also be raised through a flotation expected in 2024.
Neom, announced in 2017 as part of Saudi Vision 2030, is a 26,500 sq km development along the Red Sea with several zones including industry and tourism. It has been said it will run entirely on renewable energy.
Bin Salman gave further details of The Line, a residential area 200m wide and 170km long that will be walled in on both sides by a 500m high mirrored surface.
Between these walls 9m residents will eventually be housed in “vertically-layered communities” including parks, schools and workplaces.
Bin Salman said: “The designs revealed today for the city's vertically-layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability. The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.
“We cannot ignore the livability and environmental crises facing our world’s cities, and Neom is at the forefront of delivering new and imaginative solutions to address these issues. Neom is leading a team of the brightest minds in architecture, engineering and construction to make the idea of building upwards a reality.”
He added: “Neom will be a place for all people from across the globe to make their mark on the world in creative and innovative ways. Neom remains one of the most important projects of Saudi Vision 2030, and our commitment to delivering The Line on behalf of the nation remains resolute.”
7 industries that will thrive in NEOM
The city of NEOM bears the slogan “Made to Change”At a time when Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its economy and future opportunities, the NEOM project will increase the Kingdom's GDP
Located at the crossroads of three continents with an area of 26,500km in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is found the ambitious city of the future, NEOM. With a leadership vision that doesn’t believe in the impossible. NEOM City will be a welcoming home to every project and individual who possesses the talent, knowledge, and ability to dream and create a new reality. Did you know that 70% of the world's population will be able to reach the city of NEOM within a maximum of 8 hours? The site of NEOM also has a unique temperate weather, about 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding areas, in addition to the diversity of its terrain.
The giant investment city NEOM project was launched on October 24, 2017, by Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, and has been ranked among the top 5 tourism projects in the Middle East. As for the name, the word "Neom" is made of two parts, the first part is "neo", from the Greek neos, which means new, and the second part is "m” an abbreviation of the word "mostaqbal” which means future in Arabic.
The NEOM city project received acknowledgement and support from the Saudi Investment Fund, in addition to opening the doors for investment to local and international investors by creating an appropriate environment. Starting with the work of a developed legal and judicial system that is in harmony with international norms, and that stimulates economic growth, as the project will be independent of the Kingdom’s systems except for the sovereign ones.
Announced in July 2022, The Line is one of the most ambitious projects in NEOM. Aimed to revolutionize the way cities are designed, The Line will have no roads, cars, or emissions and will completely be run on renewable energy. Designed in a way to preserve nature and minimize its footprint, The Line's infrastructure will run 200 meters wide, 170 kilometers long, and 500 meters high. Prioritizing health and wellbeing on every level, the expected 9 million residents will be living in a truly revolutionary city.
At a time when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its economy and future opportunities, the NEOM project will increase the Kingdom's gross domestic product. In this article, we look at the most important sectors and industries that will flourish in the city of NEOM:
- Health, Well-being and Biotechnology: NEOM aims to establish an integrated system for the health, well-being, and biotechnologies sector that transcends the traditional boundaries of health care, based on a unique and direct system centered entirely on the individual. Relying on innovative technologies, health follow-ups of individuals will be remote. In NEOM there will be a group of health services throughout the house, where all vital signs in the body are monitored regularly, and if the individual is exposed to a specific infection, health services will be in an interactive state to treat it immediately, as if in a hospital.
- Technical and digital sciences: Technology is the foundation on which NEOM is based, virtual reality is no less important than tangible reality. These technologies will be harnessed to improve the quality of life through their use in the fields of education, health, and mobility.
- Design and construction: NEOM will redefine the construction sector by developing an exemplary model for planning, designing, and building future societies, while preserving the principle of sustainability in every detail.
- Entertainment and Culture: The entertainment and culture sector is dedicated to making NEOM a global meeting place for creative minds in the field of culture and entertainment, redefining the development of societies, how people interact with new experiences, and setting plans to develop the future of this sector.
- Tourism: The unique climate of the city of Neom, due to its geographical location, is one of the most important factors that prepare it as a destination for tourism and entertainment. In addition to the picturesque beaches and towering mountains overlooking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, tourists will be able to enjoy the snow-covered mountain tops in the winter. The urban-designed tourism project The Line will be the latest revolution in the world of tourism, leading the world in sustainability because it is free of pollution and use of cars. As for wildlife, lands and areas have been rehabilitated to embrace terrestrial and marine creatures again. All of this makes NEOM a destination that attracts travelers seeking to enjoy unique experiences.
- Food: NEOM intends to change the future of the food industry by creating a new and creative way to feed the world all while creating a positive impact on the planet. NEOM is attracting experts from around the world to develop methods of growing crops, processing food, distributing, and consuming it, to lead the world in food self-sufficiency.
- Media: Media plays a major role in forming ideas, influencing beliefs and opinions, and even in raising generations. The media is the fourth authority and the soft power that influences attitudes and minds. Based on that, NEOM has been keen on paying attention to the traditional and new media sector, as it intends to build an unprecedented global center that embraces creators under one platform. The technologies of this global center will be integrated with its media to enhance the concept of cooperation and show the power of interconnected technologies in the production of content for the film, television, electronic games, and digital publishing industries.
There are more industries that the city of NEOM plans to develop, such as education, sports, water, and transportation, whose results we will see with the completion of the first phase of establishing the city in 2025.
The city of NEOM bears the slogan “Made to Change” and it implements this slogan by adopting the idea of change and creating a prosperous future not only for the city and for the Kingdom, but for the whole world. Do you work in one of the industries expected to flourish in NEOM? Stay tuned for our article on the career opportunities that NEOM will offer that will enable you to join this charming city’s workforce.