What Saudi Arabia's 100-Mile-Long Emission-Free City Might Look Like

Scientists and engineers continuously work to solve the ongoing climate crisis, which is likely at least partially responsible for the unusual heatwaves currently scourging the Northern Hemisphere. If the United States and other developed nations fail to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030, science tells us, the impacts of a warming climate could be harsher and more permanent. Current solutions have ranged from electric vehicles to space bubbles, but there's no lack of ingenuity in the world of engineering, and some inventors are coming up with plans for entirely new cities that can circumvent the effects of climate breakdown.

Saudi Arabia is designing one such futuristic city, called The Line, which is exactly what it sounds like — a city shaped like a straight line that runs 170 kilometers (about 105 miles) across. It's also designed to be 1,640 feet tall and only 656 feet wide — and it looks exactly as wild as it sounds. Right now, the city is in its concept phase, which means that many of the images featured on the website are renders rather than real photos, but they look similar to sci-fi concepts of a futuristic utopian city such as the Citadel from "Mass Effect." Zooming out and looking at the span of the city, which is lifted off the ground by a giant two-way mirror, shows off the desert mountains of northern Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea beyond the city, depending on which direction you're viewing it from.

Directly supported by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince

The Line is just one part of a greater project by Saudi Arabian officials to develop a region in the country's northwest called NEOM. The latter is basically a series of cities in close proximity to one another, each with its own unique features and style that serves a different purpose. For example, plans depict the Oxagon region as NEOM's industrial district, whereas the Trojena region will become an entertainment and tourism district. The Line is more of a residential and commercial zone, by comparison, meant to be a functional city — albeit a futuristic one.

This is according to Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a statement issued on July 25, in which he explained his vision for The Line. The Crown Prince said, "At THE LINE's launch last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first based on a radical change in urban planning." The city is slated to "accommodate 9 million residents" while being completely accessible within a timeframe of 20 minutes from end-to-end, with most important facilities (presumably healthcare, emergency services, schools, and grocery shopping) accessible by foot in under five minutes from any direction.

While the city is designed to reflect human progress towards a clean economy, the city's roots may be much darker than the perfect vision of the future that NEOM seeks to showcase (via The Guardian). The $500 billion city is slated to displace 20,000 members of the Huwaitat tribe, some of whom have been arrested and imprisoned for speaking out against the forced displacement imposed by the Saudi Arabian government. In any case, the city is not expected to conclude its construction until at least 2030.