When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled his projects and plans for NEOM at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh on October 24, 2017, it elicited admiration and astonishment from people worldwide. It wasn’t merely the staggering $500 billion budget that drew attention. The concept of a futuristic city where humans, robotic avatars, and holograms could coexist harmoniously was awe-inspiring.
At the time, many scoffed at the idea. But now, five years later, the vision of NEOM is gradually becoming a reality. However, this article isn’t solely focused on NEOM or its central component, the 170km-long city that many know as the LINE. These two already attract significant global attention.
This article delves into three distinct yet interconnected mega projects that receive funding from Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). All are set to be ready by World Expo 2030, for which Saudi is a likely candidate. What sets these projects apart is their extraordinary blend of luxury, cutting-edge technology, and a strong commitment to sustainability.
The first of these remarkable ventures is The Giant Cube, aka the Mukaab.
The Saudi government is constructing a 400-meter-tall cube-shaped skyscraper named Mukaab in the al-Qirawan district of Riyadh. This ambitious project, spanning 19 km2, is designated as the New Murabba project. It will offer a convenient 15-minute walking radius. An internal transport system facilitates a 20-minute drive to the airport.
At the heart of Mukaab, there will be a tower perched on a spiral base. It will feature a diverse range of facilities including retail, cultural, tourism, commercial, and luxurious residential attractions. Developers branded it as having the capacity to accommodate 20 Empire State buildings. Mukaab will be enclosed by a triangular exterior housing an impressive 2 million m2 of retail stores, cultural destinations, and tourist attractions.
The Mukaab development will encompass over 100,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, 980,000 m2 of retail space, and 1.4 million m2 of commercial space. In addition, it will offer a multipurpose immersive theater, a university specializing in science and design, 80 entertainment and cultural venues, and an iconic museum.
Technology and sustainability
The Mukaab building is set to become the world’s first immersive and experiential destination. It will introduce visitors to an entirely new reality. A groundbreaking holographic dome will transport individuals to unexplored earthly and extraterrestrial locations. To Mars one day, and magical worlds the next.
The interior will feature walls adorned with floor-to-ceiling video projection screens. It is akin to having a colossal Xbox, but extending in every conceivable direction.
Notably, Mukaab’s innovative geometric design will occupy minimal land space, affording ample room for lush green areas. It will run entirely on renewable energy sources.
Located in the heart of NEOM, Trojena is poised to become the Gulf’s first sub-zero snow destination and outdoor ski resort. Its long-term vision includes accommodating 7,000 permanent residents and hosting more than 700,000 annual visitors.
The topography and cooler climate of Trojena, situated in Tabuk, make this possible. The region receives annual natural snowfall and maintains sub-zero temperatures throughout the winter months.
Temperatures during the winter season range from -17 to 22 degrees Celsius. Tourists can find the main skiing area at an elevation of 2.4 km above sea level.
Technology and sustainability
Trojena’s main goal is to establish itself as one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable ski resorts. To achieve this, it will rely on renewable energy sources, employ water conservation measures, and prioritize water recycling. A combination of solar and wind power will meet the resort’s energy needs through a combination of solar and wind power.
Project owners will cover around 75 percent of the ski slopes with machine-made snow, using only water and air as essential components. NEOM’s carbon-neutral renewable energy grid will power these snow machines.
Water from Zero-discharge desalination plants and melted water beneath the ski slopes will feed the resort’s operations.
Only 57 square kilometers of Trojena’s expansive area, which exceeds 1,400 km2, will be developed for the resort’s facilities.
Luxury and entertainment
An all-year Ski Village will feature an elevated mixed-use development that integrates residential spaces with upscale dining establishments, retail outlets, various activities, luxury hotels, and entertainment options. A 2.8 km man-made freshwater lake will provide exciting opportunities for water sports and entertainment activities.
This remarkable destination will boast 42,000 sqm of retail and dining space, along with over 3,500 hotel rooms and serviced apartments.
The Trojena saudi project will serve as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as hiking, kayaking, water sports, skiing, zip-lining, alpine coasters, mountain biking, skateboarding, bicycling, climbing, snow sports, ice skating and more.
Visitors can expect a vibrant calendar of events, including live concerts, music festivals, cultural happenings, art exhibitions, fashion shows and culinary fairs throughout the year.
Furthermore, Trojena could generate over 10,000 jobs and contribute $0.81 billion to Saudi’s GDP by 2030.
In Saudi Arabia’s northwest, a groundbreaking project is underway to create OXAGON, a colossal 6.9 km-wide floating city. OXAGON would become the world’s largest fully automated port and integrated logistics hub, while also earning the distinction of being the world’s largest floating structure.
The sustainable Port of Neom is now open for business. Developers allocated over $2 billion for its development.
A 57 km high-speed railway offering speeds of up to 230 km/hr, one that project owners called “The Connector” will link OXAGON to The Line,
The onshore development is on track for developers to complete it by 2030, and the city’s state-of-the-art logistics facilities will operate by 2025. Analysts expect the project to generate 70,000 jobs by 2030.
Technology and sustainability
Clean and renewable energy will power OXAGON which will make use of IoT, AI, as well as aerial taxis and robotics to leverage sustainability efforts.
This will be complemented by a network of fully automated distribution centers and autonomous last-mile delivery assets.
The port, logistics, and rail delivery facility will be unified, delivering unparalleled productivity while achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
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