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Saudi Arabia massively downsizes ambitious $1.5 trillion megacity project—from 105 miles to just 1.5

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Saudi Arabia has reportedly reduced the scope of its ambitious $1.5 trillion desert megacity project, Neom, significantly. This development, which was initially projected to be 33 times the size of New York City, has seen its goals curtailed, raising questions about the future of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy.


The centerpiece of the project, a straight-line city known as The Line, was originally planned to house 1.5 million residents by 2030. However, recent reports suggest that the population target has been drastically reduced to less than 300,000. Furthermore, instead of the envisaged 170 kilometers (105 miles), only 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) of The Line are expected to be completed by the end of the decade.


This scaling back has led to job losses, with contractors beginning to dismiss workers. Despite these setbacks, work continues on other parts of the Neom project. For instance, Sindalah, a luxury tourist destination on an island in the Red Sea, is still on track to open this year.


The Neom project, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans to diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy, has been viewed as a testbed for technologies that could revolutionize daily life. With the recent changes, however, the future of this utopian dream remains uncertain.


Will the scaling down of the Neom project impact Saudi Arabia’s broader economic diversification efforts under Vision 2030? We invite our readers to share their thoughts on this topic.



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Image: Neom

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