It is time to talk about Neom, a new project that has not been officially announced, but if true would make Qiddiya’s purpose and spectacularity seem like child’s play.
Neom would be in Saudi Arabia and, according to information obtained by The Wall Street Journal, would be a majestic display of wealth and power. A city that would start with an initial investment of $500 billion and would have elements drawn from the craziest dreams we have ever imagined.
For example, there is talk of flying taxis, a dinosaur robots park, artificial rain and even a moon that would shine every night to illuminate the city.
The most ambitious and extravagant megaproject in the history of Saudi Arabia
This mega project was born from the mind of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. He seeks to take Saudi Arabia to a new level where it can diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil. Neom is an open secret, as the prince himself announced it in 2017 as part of a conference focusing on future investment for Riyadh. He mentioned that Neom would be “a place for the world’s dreamers.
According to WSJ, Neom has begun construction in the Saudi desert and has the support of three of the world’s largest consulting firms: McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting and Oliver Wyman. Bin Salman would have hired all three for the development of the city under highly absurd ideas where money does not seem to be a problem.
The details of the WSJ are impressive since we would be facing a strange mixture of dystopian fiction with fantasy. It is said that it would have an area of approximately 28,000 square kilometers and would integrate a wide variety of futuristic technologies. The consultancy reports show the following:
- Flying taxis, since it is mentioned that driving will be done only for pleasure and not out of necessity.
- A giant artificial moon that would illuminate the city every night.
- Cloud seeding technology, whose goal would be to create artificial rains to try to moderate the high temperatures of the region.
- The advanced surveillance system, which would have cameras equipped with artificial intelligence and facial recognition, drones and even microphones installed in all corners of the city. This with the objective of “guaranteeing the security of the inhabitants”.
- Genetic Engineering, which would be in charge of SoftBank to develop an ambitious project defined as “a new way of life from birth to death, reaching genetic mutations to increase human strength and intellectual coefficient”.
- Robots, this type of technology could not be missing in a city of this type. It is said that there would be more robots than inhabitants since there would be everything from servants for domestic tasks to fights of robots in cages as entertainment, even talk of an amusement park with robotic dinosaurs.
- Holographic teachers will be available in the schools and ready to teach at any time. It is said that Neom would have the “leading educational system on the planet”.
- A gastronomic offer with the “highest rate of Michelin-starred restaurants per inhabitant” of any city in the world.
Nadhmi al Nasr, CEO of the Neom Project, mentioned:
“Neom is about things that are necessarily forward-looking and visionary. So we are talking about technology that is at the forefront and beyond, and in some cases still in development and perhaps theoretical.”
Neom is part of Bin Salman’s ‘Vision 2030′ plan, which includes Qiddiya, a new economy, and openness to attract “the world’s greatest minds and the best talents.
On the other hand, according to sources consulted by WSJ that are related to the project, there are still many doubts as to the viability of the plan. There are possible financing problems and technological limitations.
South Korea has spent 35 billion dollars on designing a city that eliminates the need to use cars.
Despite everything, it is said that Neom already started its development with the construction of an airport and a palace. So far, there is no estimated date for the possible opening of the first stage. There is information suggesting that both the planning and development of the city are being financed with borrowed money. However, as I mentioned, as long as Saudi Arabia does not confirm the start of the project, it remains in the realm of rumors.