This is the largest human construction in history: spanning 200 kilometers without consuming energy

By Chanak Maduranga

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This is the largest human construction in history: spanning 200 kilometers without consuming energy

A country overflowing with gold and oil has a construction project that has traveled around the world several times. Last week we saw the controversy with this monument to sustainability, and now we see what will be the largest human structure in history: a 200-kilometer colossus that does not consume any energy.

Saudi Arabia’s mega construction project: will save 95% of its ecosystems

The Line is an urban mega-project that the state of Saudi Arabia is building in the territory of Neom, in the northwest of the country. It is a linear city 170 km long and only 200 meters wide designed to accommodate 9 million people.

With this futuristic proposal, the Saudi government aims to promote economic diversification and become a benchmark in innovation and sustainability. The city consists of a straight line of 34 blocks or communities linked by a modern rapid and underground transportation system.

Each community will have everything necessary for daily life such as homes, schools, green areas and services. The buildings will in no case exceed 200 meters wide and will have identical facades on both sides of the line.

This ultra-compact design seeks to preserve 95% of the territory as a natural space, while promoting pedestrian mobility and reducing polluting emissions. The architects in charge of the project assure that The Line will be a green, efficient and livable city.

The cost, exorbitant; and the opening date, even more

The Line has an estimated construction cost of $500 billion. The project is being developed by a consortium of publicly owned companies—or rather, the Saudi Royal Family—as well as other conglomerates that are already active in the country.

The first phase of construction began in October 2022 and is expected to be completed by 2030. This phase will include basic infrastructure and several communities along the line. Construction of The Line in its entirety will extend until 2070.

The technology and materials used in The Line are innovative. For example, drones and 3D printing will be used to speed up the construction process. The exterior walls will be made of prefabricated cement panels, as slid, and it is intended that they contribute to mitigating the very high temperatures recorded in this region of the world, even more so in the middle of the desert.

The development of The Line represents a massive investment in infrastructure and an ambitious commitment to reinvent urbanism and community life. However, the project faces significant challenges in meeting initially planned timelines and budgets.

The criticism is intensifying: are we facing greenwashing? Maybe something worse

Experts point out that the project is part of an image-washing strategy by the Saudi government to improve its global reputation. They criticize the fact that billions are spent on a futuristic city while the human rights of citizens continue to be violated.

It has been reported that construction is being carried out through labor abuses, with migrant workers in exploitative conditions. There is also concern about the possible impact on Bedouin communities that inhabit the lands where The Line will be built.

In general, there is skepticism about whether The Line will manage to be a free, diverse and sustainable city as it promises, considering that it was built under an authoritarian regime like that of Saudi Arabia. For this reason, the project is accused of being an exercise in distraction and a way to improve the kingdom’s global image.

At this point, we can only share the surprise with this construction project, which has shown how we sometimes take innovation too far. Society, in an opposite trend, is getting used to changing its habits and living places, in fact, this is what we are going to do under greenhouses in the future.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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