New Saudi giga project features a 7-mile artificial canal

Called MARAFY, the project will house 130,000 residents in the northern region of Jeddah.
Ameya Paleja
Artist's rendering of MARAFY project
Artist's rendering of MARAFY project

ROSHN Group 

A new development project financed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia features a 6.8 mile (11 km) long and 328 feet (100 m) wide artificial canal, a press release from the real estate developer ROSHN said.

The world's largest oil supplier, Saudi Arabia, is preparing for the new world order, where fossil fuels no longer fuel its economy. The country has undertaken ambitious projects such as NEOM and the LINE, which do not meet the norms of construction designs today.

The most recent announcement is for a waterfront settlement, MARAFY, to be built in the northern region of Jeddah, the capital city. The region had no waterfront, so it must be engineered first.

The first-ever canal in Saudi Arabia

Interesting Engineering has previously reported on the ambitious nature of Saudi projects that do not meet current building conventions. The linear city of LINE promises many modern amenities arranged within the city's narrow boundaries. However, for all its advances, the country in an arid region has never built a canal.

The country is building its first-ever canal for yet another real estate development project. The nearly seven-mile-long canal is being made by extending the Obhur Creek. However, the structure won't be just for aesthetic purposes but also be navigable, linking homes and communities in the area. When complete, the MARAFY project is estimated to house 130,000 people.

With the canal, MARAFY aims to put itself in the league of big cities like Chicago, Stockholm, Hamburg, and London, with waterfront areas serving as leisure and entertainment zones for its residents and offering a scenic site for real estate development.

Saudi Arabia - a global hub

The MARAFY project will include multiple districts, each with a distinct character, and will feature the cultural and architectural heritage of the region in its designs. The districts and the city of Jeddah will be connected with an intermodal transport system that includes buses, water taxis, a Metro station, and a canal link to King Abdulaziz International Airport.

"It is core to us as a giga project to introduce such huge development to the kingdom, MARAFY will be a gamechanger in the real estate development sector, raising the bar of development in the region, boosting the quality of life, and creating a huge impact in Jeddah,” said David Grover, CEO of Roshn Group in the press release. “It’s one of the iconic projects that will put Jeddah on the map of a world-class destination" and "creating a vibrant community and a thriving economy”.

Saudi Arabia is hopeful that its iconic destinations will attract visitors and residents from all over the world. The country has been touting its geographic location as an advantage to becoming a hub of the global economy.