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In this blog I will express my personal opinions, ideas and thoughts on topics related to Earth observation, remote sensing and space science in general. I will talk about current news and developments, and there may be more that is not yet known, even to me.

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The Line - A Look at the Megaproject

Updated: Mar 21

It started when I needed a break from my daily work and wanted to do something different for a while. By chance I stumbled across another article about The Line. So, I thought I try animating in DaVinci Resolve and fly along the construction site of the building. Before I show you the result, let me tell a bit more about this project.


The Line is linear city that will stretch for 170 kilometres along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. The project, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in January 2021, aims to create a sustainable and smart urban development that will house nine million people and generate zero carbon emissions.

But what exactly is The Line? And how does it work? Let's take a closer look at this ambitious project. First on the construction area as seen by the Copernicus satellite Sentinel-2 in the last three years.


The image shows the construction site in the last 3 years (Image uses modified Copernicus Sentinel-2 data)

The Line is based on the idea of creating a city that is shaped like a line, rather than a circle or a grid. The line will consist of several interconnected communities, each with its own identity and purpose. The communities will be linked by a high-speed transportation system that will run underground, along with other infrastructure and services. The surface of the line will be reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, and nature.

The Line claims to offer a new model of urban living that is human-centric, nature-friendly, and innovation-driven. It promises to eliminate cars, roads, and traffic, and instead provide high-speed transportation and digital services that will allow residents to access everything they need within minutes. It also claims to preserve 95% of the natural environment and create 380,000 jobs in various sectors. It is part of the larger NEOM project, which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy and reduce its dependence on oil.


Sounds impressive, right? But not everyone is convinced. The Line has also faced criticism from human rights groups, environmentalists, and urban planners, who question the feasibility, cost, and impact of the project.


Pros

  • The Line claims to offer a new model of urban living that is human-centric, nature-friendly, and innovation-driven. It promises to eliminate cars, roads, and traffic, and instead provide high-speed transportation and digital services that will allow residents to access everything they need within minutes.

  • The Line also claims to preserve 95% of the natural environment and create 380,000 jobs in various sectors. It is part of the larger NEOM project, which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

  • The Line has the backing of the Saudi government, which has allocated $500 billion for the NEOM project. It also has the support of several global partners, such as Boston Dynamics, Siemens, and McKinsey.

Cons

  • The Line faces many challenges and uncertainties, such as the technical feasibility, environmental impact, social acceptance, and political stability of the project. It is unclear how the project will deal with issues such as water scarcity, climate change, biodiversity loss, human rights violations, and regional conflicts.

  • The Line also raises ethical and moral questions about the vision and values behind the project. Some critics have accused the project of being a vanity project for the Saudi crown prince, who has been implicated in human rights abuses and corruption scandals. Others have argued that the project is a dystopian fantasy that ignores the realities and needs of the local people and culture.

  • It is uncertain when the building will be completed. The project has an estimated timeline of 10 years, but some experts have suggested that it could take much longer or never materialize at all.


Today cities have a much higher footprint on ground as The Line shall have. Even a city like Manila (the one with highest population density) has almost a 6-times higher footprint.


City

Population

Area

Density (People/km²)

The Line

9 million

34 km²

264705

London

9.8 million

1738 km²

5639

Manila

1.9 million

42 km²

45238


Two further megaprojects were recently announced as part of the overarching NEOM project. A 400 m cube shaped skyscraper and a 2 km high skyscraper.


So now I don't want to bore you any further. But if you are interested in this project, I can suggest following the links at the end. Here is now the short video I've created in DaVinci Resolve. It's not Hollywood-ready, but I'm quite happy with it for a first attempt. Controlling the camera is quite fiddly.




Thanks, for ready and if you think the video good, please give it a thumbs up 👍🏻. Would be great.


Tschüss and Goodbye!

Marco


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