Dezeen Magazine

The Line as part of Neom in Saudi Arabia a risk to birds

Saudi Arabia lowers predicted number of residents at The Line by 2030

The Line mega-city, which is the flagship development for Saudi Arabia's Neom project, will allegedly house fewer than 300,000 people by 2030, down from an original goal of 1.5 million.

News agency Bloomberg has reported that officials expect The Line – a 170-kilometre-long linear city consisting of two parallel, 500-metre-high, linear skyscrapers – to house fewer than 300,000 people by 2030.

When the project was introduced, estimates for how many people would live in the mega city in northwestern Saudi Arabia by 2030 ranged from one million people to 1.5 million.

A source also said that just 2.4 kilometres of The Line's total 170 kilometres will be completed by 2030, and a document seen by Bloomberg revealed that at least one of The Line's contractors has begun dismissing some of the workers it employs on the site.

However, "officials have maintained their overall objectives for The Line", according to the news agency.

The scaling-back of the project is because Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund hasn't yet approved Neom's 2024 budget, the source said. Bloomberg has previously reported that the wealth fund is trying to find new cash sources to help finance the project.

The Line, which was originally announced in 2021, would link the Red Sea coast with the northwest of Saudi Arabia and is the most well-known of the Neom projects, which will cover 26,500 square kilometres in northwestern Saudi Arabia in total.

Construction has begun on the building, with a video released earlier this year showing extensive foundation work taking place on the site.

The Neom project will feature ten regions in total, including the floating port city Oxagon designed by Danish studio BIG, ski adventure resort Trojena and luxury island resort Sindalah, which is planned to be the first region to complete and will open for guests this year.

The Line has previously been criticised on sustainability and human rights grounds. In 2022, human rights organisation ALQST reported that three men were sentenced to death after being "forcibly evicted" from the Neom site.

Last year, the UN Human Rights Council expressed "alarm" over the imminent executions. Saudi Arabia responded to the UN by denying abuses had taken place.

Dezeen has reached out to Neom for comment.