neom: saudi arabia’s city of the Future


While the super-tall, ultra-narrow concept for the LINE has made waves over the past two years for its highly ambitious design — and controversial politics — the megacity is just one of four which are planned for NEOM, Saudi Arabia‘s envisioned city of the future. Located in the northwestern province of Tabuk, the larger-than-life proposal is spearheaded by Mohammed bin Salman, the nation’s crown prince and prime minister, along with Roger Nickells, former CEO of BuroHappold. Overall, the project will take shape with architectural designs by Morphosis, Zaha Hadid Architects, Mecanoo, Aedas, and UNStudio.


Representing a ‘new future,’ NEOM’s name is derived from two words: the first three letters come from the ancient greek prefix neo- meaning ‘new,’ while the fourth letter is from the abbreviation of ‘mostaqbal,’ an Arabic word meaning ‘future.’ 


The four ‘regions’ which will together make up NEOM are dubbed Sindalah, Trojena, Oxagon, and the LINE. Overall, the international team hopes to ‘reimagine urban living’ by incorporating smart city technologies and bringing to life futuristic urban planning concepts. This forward-looking vision is illustrated in a recent interview with NEOM’s director of urban planning Tarek Qaddumi, who details the team’s goals of ultra-efficiency and carbon neutrality.

NEOM saudi arabiathe four regions of NEOM | images courtesy NEOM@discoverneom





Sindalah is described as a ‘tech-driven destination where laidback island chic meets new-age luxury,’ and marks the first-designed region for NEOM Saudi Arabia. It is planned to introduce a new touristic resort to the Tabuk province. The team embarks on the ‘responsibly designed’ project as an ‘enhancement of nature,’ taking advantage of the site along the Red Sea, which NEOM describes as having a year-round ideal climate.


The resort is centered around luxury tourism, with three hotels together introducing nearly 750 rooms and apartments. With an 86-berth marina and 75 additional offshore buoys, the group at NEOM expects Sindalah to punctuate the shoreline as a destination for superyachts. Once arrived, guests will have access to luxury retail, a beach and yacht club, and a spa and wellness center.

NEOM saudi arabiaSindalah | image courtesy NEOM





The Trojena region of NEOM is planned for the mountains of Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province. It will cover an area of nearly sixty square kilometers (23 square miles), and will be located fifty kilometers from the Gulf of Aqaba coast in a region whose elevations range from 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) to 2,600 meters (8,530 feet) above sea level. 


Although it has not yet been built, the proposal is already planned to be the site of the 2029 Asian Winter Games. Scheduled for completion in 2026, the $500 billion desert city will include year-round skiing, a man-made freshwater lake, chalets, villas, and ultra-luxury hotels, and is expected to host 700,000 annual visitors and be home to as many as 7,000 residents by 2030. Read designboom’s previous coverage here.

NEOM saudi arabiaTrojena | image courtesy NEOM





The NEOM team plans the Oxagon to become the largest floating structure in the world. The proposal is designed to project out into the Red Sea just south of the Suez Canal, a waterway which which sees the passage of around 13 percent of trade between Asia, Europe, and the east coast of the United States. Due to this strategic position, the massive port-city is expected to become a hub for ‘advanced and clean technologies,’ while introducing housing for ‘90,000 residents by 2030.’ With this forward-looking infrastructure, the team claims that the Oxagon will operate on one hundred percent clean energy.

the four megacities of NEOM, saudi arabia's ultra-futuristic gigacity
Oxagon | image courtesy NEOM



the line


Perhaps the most recognizable region of Saudi Arabia’s NEOM gigacity is the LINE. Tall and narrow, the city will be 500 meters above sea level and 200 meters wide (1,640 feet high and 650 feet wide). Described as ‘a revolution in urban living’, the belt of communities will be connected without the need for cars or roads. Residents will be offered access to both nature and all of their daily needs within a walking distance of five minutes. What’s more, the team behind the project says that the linear development of hyper-connected AI-enabled communities will be powered by 100% clean energy. Find out more about the LINE here.

the four megacities of NEOM, saudi arabia's ultra-futuristic gigacityThe LINE | image courtesy NEOM



project info:


project title: NEOM @discoverneom

location: Tabuk province, Saudi Arabia

regions: Sindalah, Trojena, Oxagon, the LINE