Drone footage of The Line shows the enormous scale of the project

The ambition behind the project is curious as Linear City is in the middle of nowhere.
Ameya Paleja
The Line
The Line


Aerial photography company Ot Sky has captured the scale of work that is needed as Saudi Arabia commences work on its project of building the futuristic city, The Line.

The video shows numerous excavators at work and building a wide trench in the middle of nowhere inside which the foundation of the linear city will be laid. When complete the project will be 105 miles (170 km) long but residents of the city can expect to move across the city's ends in no more than 20 minutes.

What do we know about Saudi Arabia's The Line?

The linear city is the ambitious undertaking of the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, commonly referred to as MBS, and announced in January 2021. Apart from the fact that the linear city would connect two points on the country's eastern and western borders without devouring vast spaces of land, there was little that was known about the project until recently.

In July, NEOM unveiled the first glimpses of the futuristic city that was not just long but tall as well. Interesting Engineering then reported the project's plans to build mirror skyscrapers that would be taller than the Empire State Building and run through different terrains like deserts, mountains, and the coast.

Unlike modern cities that build infrastructure to move vehicles, The Line is designed to be people-centric and strip away the need for private vehicles as all facilities needed are expected to be within walking distance.

Drone footage of The Line shows the enormous scale of the project
People centric city with no cars or buses

Traveling within the extensive length of the city would be made possible by a high-speed public transport system build underground, below the skyscrapers. Apart from the malls, theatres, and restaurants that one would expect in a city, The Line will also feature vertical farms to cater to the food requirements of the city.

The hurdles in building The Line

Soon after the plans for The Line were unveiled, the plausible hurdles in the execution of a project so magnanimous were brought to the fore. These included the availability of groundwater for residents of these skyscrapers and how could be heavily altered in the years to come.

Drone footage of The Line shows the enormous scale of the project
Life as envisioned in The Line

For a project that praises itself for being environmental-friendly, The Line would be a major hurdle to cross, for millions of migratory birds that use the corridor. Tribals in the areas that were otherwise barren are now being displaced, a Wall Street Journal report said. Earlier this week, three members of a tribe were allegedly executed for opposing eviction from the construction site, DeZeen reported.

The city is expected to house nine million people when complete and will need shared kitchens and canteens to feed the residents. The vertical farms planned on the skyscrapers would also require autonomous systems to handle the agricultural process, all of which need to fall in place as the city is built.

An impact assessment of the project said that the project could be completed in five decades. However, MBS wants it completed by the end of the decade. That's the hurdle that will be toughest to cross.

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