The promotional video for Neom, Saudi Arabia’s latest desert city project, promises not just a megacity, but a utopian metropolis serving humankind.
“This is the blank page you need to write humanity’s next chapter,” the narrator says. “This is where we can prepare together for the next era of human progress.”
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced the $500 billion megacity last month, which will span 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers). The metropolis will skirt the northwest coast of the country on the Red Sea, even reaching north into Jordan and across the sea, via a bridge, into Egypt.
Prince Mohammed envisions Neom as a hub for manufacturing, renewable energy, biotechnology, media, and entertainment. The city’s website proclaims that it will offer “an idyllic lifestyle…founded on modern architecture, lush green spaces, quality of life, safety, and quality.”
Steffen Hertog, an associate professor at the London School of Economics, says that no private commitments have been made. “Investors will want to see more detail before moving forward, but because Saudi Arabia is more financially constrained than it used to be, it may not be able to make large up-front investments before private money comes.”
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