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Saudi Arabia’s Controversial Smart City Takes Shape

Satellite images of The Line, Saudi Arabia’s controversial vertical smart city, have revealed that construction is well underway. Though the mega-project has been teeming with problems from the start including the displacement of Saudi Arabia’s al-Huwaitat tribe in order to make room for the development, The Line’s massive linear construction site is already taking shape. 

Despite the fact that construction had reportedly fallen well behind schedule last summer, some recent high-res snapshots show that construction appears to be stretching as straight as an arrow over the deserts and across the mountains of northern Saudi Arabia. The site, which is several tens of meters underground in some places, is swarming with hundreds of construction vehicles and probably thousands of employees, who are themselves living in neighboring huge bases. 

While The Line is supposed to represent a technological utopia in the middle of the desert, the practicality of it is questionable at best. A lot of the technology that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and supposed mastermind behind The Line, has touted that The Line will feature (such as air taxis, glow-in-the-dark sand, a year-round temperate micro-climate on a massive scale, and even robots that function as domestic servants) are still in their infancy. 

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