NEOM is a new destination being created in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia, a new sustainable mega city! Every so often I read an article and have my mind blown and I’m left thinking, how did I not know about this? NEOM aims to be the future of sustainability and innovation, unprecedented in scope and unconstrained by history. Where there was once barren desert and a vast expanse of land, this sustainable mega city is being created to demonstrate a vision of the future.
Sustainable Mega City
As the name suggests NEOM aims to lead the way in sustainability and new tech innovation. The name “NEOM” is derived from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix neo- meaning “new”. The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Mostaqbal (Arabic: مستقبل), an Arabic word meaning “future”. It promises to be the land of the future where the most promising start-ups, established companies, future industries and the best global talents are joined to create solutions for the key challenges being faced by humanity. It all sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but construction is already underway.
The NEOM project was announced to the public back in October 24, 2017, by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the PIF. As the global industries are set to shift, Saudi are investing in the long-term diversification of the Saudi economy.
Who will live in NEOM?
NEOM is strategically placed at the crossroads of the world with an area of 26,500 km2. NEOM is just an 8-hour flight from 70% of the global population. The hope is that the new sustainable mega city will attract residents from UAE as well as global citizens, much like any other major city.
Industry in NEOM will focus on 16 main economic sectors, the future of energy, future of water, future of mobility, future of biotech, future of food, future of manufacturing, future of media, future of entertainment, culture and fashion, future of technology and digital, future of tourism, future of sport, future of design and construction, future of services, future of health and well-being, future of education and future of livability at the foundation of all the sectors.
Situated in an area rich in wind and solar energy resources, NEOM provides an ideal environment in which to develop renewable energy projects. The land also boats perennial solar resources and the ideal wind speed (an average of 10.3 m/s) so the city will produce and function solely on renewables.
Of course, a development of this scale is always going to throw up a lot of debate. Firstly, the thought that a nation has the cash to create a mega city from the ground up, whilst there are people starving in the world- is pretty gross. There’s also the debate as to whether the world really needs another city, can we not just let nature be? Personally, I was quite intrigued to read about NEOM and learn that Saudi Arabia, a place so renowned for their oil industry, has recognised the need for change and a sustainable future, surely this in itself is encouraging?