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Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a 120 km mirror glass Mirror Line skyscraper. It will be located in the desert and will cost the country $1 trillion. The Mirror Line will become part of the desert city of Neom, which was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in January 2021.
The Mirror Line will consist of two buildings approximately 500 km high, which will run parallel to each other through 120 km of desert, coastal, and mountain landscapes. Prince Mohammed wants to complete construction by 2030, but engineers say it could take 50 years.
Since the building is very long, it will be placed on piers. Taking into account the curvature of the Earth there will be a high-speed rail line. The skyscraper will stretch from the Gulf of Aqaba through the mountain range and coastline to a desert.
The Project Neom
The project is conceived so that residents can reach each other in 5 minutes on foot, as well as move from one end of the building to the other within 20 minutes. The Mirror Line will reportedly be powered by renewable energy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the buildings will accommodate 5 million people and, in addition to the high-speed train, will include a boat dock. The residents will be fed by vertical farming, which is planned to be integrated into the walls of the shiny buildings. Residents will reportedly be able to subscribe to three meals a day.
The Mirror Line will also have a sports stadium at an altitude of approximately 300 m above the ground. Salman claims that the buildings will be completely carbon neutral and environmentally friendly. He also hopes that the Neom project itself will create thousands of new jobs and help the oil-rich country reduce its dependence on natural resources.
However, the project also faces some challenges. Neom may not receive foreign investment due to problems in relations with Western countries related to allegations of human rights violations. Some also wonder if the projects being developed are too ambitious.
Earlier, due to funding difficulties, Saudi Arabia abandoned plans to build a skyscraper 1.6 km high, which would be the tallest in the world. Mirror Line and Neom are now funded by the high cost of oil. Environmental planners also fear that the Mirror Line will disrupt the migratory routes of migratory birds, and mirrored glass buildings will further confuse them.
The Saudi authority’s decision to build an entire cluster from scratch is a bold but logical decision. It is almost impossible to adapt already existing megacities with skyscrapers and road interchanges to the concept of a “green city”.
Though it is commendable that the kingdom, having a vast territory and huge financial resources, decided to invest in such a large-scale project, ready to turn over the usual understanding of cities. If successful, The Line, and Neom in general, will serve as an example for other countries in urban development.