‘I’d rather be dead’: Planned 105-mile-long sustainable city between mirrored walls dubbed a dystopian nightmare

Hailed as “a revolution in civilization,” Saudi Arabia is drawing a literal line in its desert sand, and it intends on filling it with millions of environmentally conscious residents — a big tech “sustainable living” “giga-project” that looks to many like a dystopian nightmare come to life.

Stretching 105 miles through Saudi’s desert, THE LINE aims to sandwich nine million residents in between two 1,640-foot mirrored walls — taller than the Empire State Building — set just over 650 feet apart from each other.

(Video: YouTube)

It’s all part of the nation’s NEOM development project, and according to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it’s the wave of the future.

“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 Crown Prince said at the unveiling of the designs. “The designs revealed today for the city’s vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability. THE LINE will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”

At the heart of the project, which is expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars to construct, is a concept called “Zero Gravity Urbanism,” organized in three dimensions.

All of the things you’d expect to see in a normal metropolis — from homes to schools to parks to businesses — will be layered on top of each other, giving residents no reason to venture outside the walls.

All of your needs will be met within a five-minute walk, and thanks to the construction’s infrastructure, you’ll be able to travel from one end of THE LINE to the other in just 20 minutes, so you can forget about the need for a car. THE LINE will boast zero carbon emissions, thank you very much.

And if it doesn’t look and feel enough like something out of The Fifth Element, the entire complex will be automated with AI technology. Those robots will set a year-around “temperate micro-climate with natural ventilation.” All energy and water requirements will be 100% renewable.

And don’t worry, all the views will be “equitable.”

Lest you think that Saudi Arabia is doing this all on their own nutty initiative, you should probably read up on the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda and its sustainability goals for 2030 — a year in which the Saudis hope to see 1.5 million people living within its mirrored façade, according to NPR.

During the Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11), held at the end of June in Poland, city planners, mayors, governments, civil society and community groups from around the world were given a deadline of July 31 “to submit their actions on the Urban Agenda Platform… on the WUF11 theme of ‘Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future.”

Said Martha Delgado, President of the United Nations Habitat Assembly, at WUF11, “We need to focus on increasing the inevitable urban crises. The climate emergency, pandemics, the biodiversity crisis, other natural and man-made disasters, all converge in cities. Being prepared for and overcoming these crises becomes a precondition to transform towards a better urban future.”

So fundamentally changing how we live isn’t just a Saudi thing, it’s a stated goal of the United Nations.

And judging by the reactions to the Saudi solution, it’s going to be a really hard sell.

“I’d rather be dead than live in something like this,” said Matt Walsh.

“From ‘don’t build a wall’ to ‘build a wall and live inside it,'” he tweeted. “This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a termite colony.”

And clearly, Walsh isn’t alone in his sentiments.

Below, find a sampling of what folks are saying:



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