In an unprecedented endeavor, the planned megacity of NEOM in Saudi Arabia is set to become a new model for sustainable living, working, and prospering, at a time when the world is in dire need of fresh thinking and innovative solutions.
Saudi Arabia already has a number of ambitious projects underway, including the Amaala Project and the Red Sea project. In this context, Wego explores the proposed smart city of NEOM, which is on the cusp of welcoming the public.
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What is NEOM city?
NEOM is a cutting-edge urban area that is part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s mega-project. It is planned to incorporate smart city innovations, where world-class technology is fueled with data and intelligence to create a sustainable living space that will also function as a tourist destination.
NEOM is currently under development in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Positioned to the north of the Red Sea, it is located east of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba and to the south of Jordan. The site’s strategic geographical placement makes it a key point at the crossroads of these significant regional landmarks.
The initial phase of NEOM’s development is set to wrap up in 2025. By 2026, NEOM is poised to provide living space for approximately 450,000 people. Moreover, the number is projected to expand to 1.5 to 2 million by 2030. The ultimate vision for the city is to become home to a population of nine million by the year 2045.
What can we expect from NEOM city?
NEOM will introduce a new model for urban sustainability powered by 100% renewable energy. With world-class treatment and inclusive care, the city will harness innovative technology, research and education to become a global benchmark in the field. It adopts environmental responsibility principles that promote sustainable and regenerative development practices.
NEOM will be comprised of distinct regions, each characterized by its unique features. The following details provide information about the various regions within NEOM.
Epicon is a luxury coastal tourism destination featuring a residential component. Located in the Gulf of Aqaba, it comprises two towers, one standing at 225m and the other at 275m. The towers will host an ultra-premium 41-key hotel along with 14 suites and apartments as luxury residences. Epicon distinguishes itself with a strong commitment to eco-friendly practices and innovative design, seamlessly integrating into the coastal environment as part of NEOM’s visionary development.
Trojena will offer year-round outdoor skiing and adventure sports to be completed in 2026. The destination will house six distinctive development districts centred around tailored experiences that blend real with virtual architectural and engineering innovations to create a destination like no other on earth. The completed project will feature a diverse range of residences, retail, leisure, and dining options. Activities, including year-round skiing, water sports, hiking, and mountain biking, will sit side by side with an interactive nature reserve.
Oxagon is NEOM’s economic and industrial engine, driving innovation in industry and technology whilst offering exceptional livability. The city is designed to attract global talent and breathe new life into manufacturing. With a next-gen automated & integrated port and supply chain fostering an ecosystem for research and innovation, the city will act as a catalyst for advanced transformational industries and a global gateway for world trade.
The Line project
The Line is a never-before-seen approach to urbanization – a 170km-long linear urban development of multiple, hyper-connected communities, with walkable neighbourhoods integrated with public parks and the natural landscape. It is a model of urban design and livability in harmony with nature for the 21st century and beyond. The designs of the project will embody how urban communities will be in the future where the abandonment of traditional carbon-intensive infrastructures will make the environment free from roads, cars and emissions.
Sindalah is the first luxury island destination in NEOM and one of the most important projects supporting Saudi Arabia’s national tourism strategy. Extending over an area of approximately 840,000 square meters, Sindalah is one of a group of islands that will be developed in NEOM, each according to its unique vision and design. Sindalah is expected to start welcoming guests to enjoy its exquisite facilities and exclusive offerings in early 2024. It is anticipated that the development will create 3,500 jobs for the tourism sector and hospitality and leisure services.
Leyja comprises three eco-friendly hotels, complemented by an experiential centre within the stunning valley, surrounded by 400-meter-high mountain ranges. The hotels that are set to be built in this area are the Wellness Hotel, Oasis Hotel, and Adventure Hotel. Situated along the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, these three luxurious hotels are thoughtfully designed to provide unique and distinct experiences.
Located along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, Siranna offers a breathtaking view of the Red Sea. It is designed to seamlessly blend with the surrounding mountains and wadi, creating a harmonious integration with the natural landscape. This coastal-facing development comprises a hotel and residential area, offering various recreational activities at the heart of nature’s purest beauty.
Utamo is NEOM’s latest project that will serve as an art and entertainment venue. This multipurpose performance space is designed to be one of the world’s most exclusive event venues with VIP lounges and signature restaurants. Situated in a mountain located along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, Utamo provides a stunning backdrop for music events, exhibitions, and art activations, promising unforgettable entertainment experiences.
Aquellum is a visionary underground digital society, nestled within NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious USD 500 billion smart city project. This extraordinary community is ingeniously embedded into a towering mountain range that stretches 450 meters high along the Gulf of Aqaba.
NEOM’s Zardun, a USD 500 billion luxury resort, will be located above the clear waters of the Gulf of Aqaba in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM. Spanning four square kilometers, this carefully restored sanctuary supports the local ecosystem and emphasizes sustainability.
The infrastructure in Neom will be meticulously crafted to facilitate sustainable development, incorporating cutting-edge technology. Provided below are the infrastructures that you can anticipate in Neom.
NEOM Hospital is a cutting-edge medical facility, representing groundbreaking advancements in healthcare. With a focus on redefining the future of medical care through cutting-edge technology and patient-centred approaches, it rivals top global institutions. The hospital offers a comprehensive range of services across various specialities, including cardiology, oncology, neurology, and orthopaedics, leveraging state-of-the-art equipment such as AI-assisted diagnostics, robotic surgery systems, and telemedicine capabilities.
NEOM Bay Airport
Neom Bay Airport is one of the four airport networks that are projected in the city, one of which is to be international. The commercial airport is 48 km away from the nearest airport, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport. Nadhmi Al-Nasr, Chief Executive Officer of NEOM, said, “NEOM Bay Airport is a key enabler of NEOM’s development, facilitating efficient access to NEOM for residents and business partners and drastically improving the ease with which NEOM can connect with people from all over the world”.
NEOM Airlines is set to launch flights from NEOM Bay Airport by the end of 2024. The airline aims to use sustainable fuel from NEOM’s mixing facilities and will incorporate locally sourced foods from NEOM in its catering services. Future plans include introducing innovative aircraft with features like electric, hydrogen-powered, or supersonic technology starting in 2026.
NEOM green hydrogen plant
NEOM is expected to become one of the world’s leading centres for green hydrogen as it is one of the few places on Earth where green hydrogen can be made competitively in very large quantities. The unique combination of wind and sun in NEOM provides the ideal power source to generate clean energy, which in turn can be used to produce green hydrogen to meet the needs of energy-importing regions like Japan and Europe. This green hydrogen plant project receives great support as it finally completes the financial close on May 2023 at a total investment value of USD 8.4 billion.