Neom City Saudi Arabia: A Glimpse into the Future of Eco-Cities 

Picture of Written by: Neelam Shahzadi
Written by: Neelam Shahzadi
Picture of Reviewed by: Majid Hussain
Reviewed by: Majid Hussain

Neom, Saudi Arabia’s audacious venture into the future, is not just a city but a bold vision of what tomorrow could look like. This $500 billion project is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, aiming to transition the country away from its oil-rich past towards a greener, more sustainable future.  

Neom is more than just an eco-city; it’s a comprehensive blueprint for humanity’s future, promising a harmonious coexistence with the planet. Let’s delve into the heart of Neom, exploring its groundbreaking innovations and contemplating its real-world implications. 

Neom City Saudi Arabia

A New Dawn in Urban Living

At an impressive expanse of over 26,500 square kilometres, Neom’s sheer scale dwarfs that of nations such as Kuwait or Israel. This mega-city aims to break free from traditional governance, operating under an autonomous legal system tailored by and for investors. This revolutionary approach signals a new era of urban development, blending autonomy with sustainability. 

The Line: Redefining Urban Spaces

Central to Neom’s urban design is The Line, a 170km stretch of city that promises to redefine urban living. Ali Shihabi, a pivotal figure on Neom’s advisory board, envisions The Line as a series of self-sufficient blocks, each equipped with all the amenities residents could need within a five-minute walk. This concept, inspired by Barcelona’s superblocks, aims to eliminate the need for cars, thereby slashing carbon emissions and enhancing the quality of urban life. 

Oxagon: Floating into the Future

Neom’s ambition extends to the sea with Oxagon, set to be the largest floating industrial complex globally. This marvel of engineering showcases the project’s innovative spirit and commitment to pushing the boundaries of modern technology and sustainable development. 


Envisioned as a ski resort located in the Sarwat Mountains close to Neom’s northern area, this 60-square-kilometre skiing and outdoor activity haven will provide year-round skiing opportunities. It’s also slated to be the venue for the 2029 Asian Winter Games. 


Envisioned as a luxurious island retreat nestled in the heart of the Red Sea, this expansive 840,000-square-meter development is specifically designed to cater to the elite yachting community.  


Alongside the marina, a variety of high-end hotels will offer sumptuous accommodations, ensuring visitors experience unparalleled comfort and style during their stay. This ambitious project aims to blend exclusivity with the natural beauty of the Red Sea, creating a unique destination for leisure and relaxation. 

Neom City Saudi Arabia: A Green Revolution in the Desert

Neom’s vision extends beyond urban design. It aims to become the world’s most food-self-sufficient city through advanced agricultural techniques such as vertical farming and greenhouses. This initiative is particularly noteworthy given Saudi Arabia’s current dependency on food imports, signalling a significant shift towards sustainability and self-reliance. 

Sustainability vs. Reality: A Balancing Act

Despite its futuristic ambitions, Neom has faced scepticism regarding its environmental promises and the feasibility of its grand vision. Critics accuse the project of greenwashing, pointing to the inherent contradictions between Saudi Arabia’s continued oil production and its pledges for a greener future. This juxtaposition raises critical questions about balancing economic development with environmental stewardship in the modern world. 

Tourists and the rich

Neom’s ambitious public relations campaigns, aimed at drawing tourists to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, have not been without their detractors. The promotional material presents Neom as a dazzling urban paradise, complete with its own laws and security apparatus, seemingly detached from the traditional power structures of Saudi Arabia. 

However, there are voices that argue the development is primarily serving the ultra-wealthy. Reports have surfaced of luxurious estates being constructed for the royal family, with early development phases revealing a helipad and a golf course through satellite imagery. 

A satellite photo offers a glimpse into Neom’s emerging landscape, highlighting attractions such as a golf course and a helipad. Ali Shihabi envisions the city as a diverse community, accommodating “everyone from labourers to billionaires.” Yet, he acknowledges the widespread perception of Neom as an exclusive playground for the affluent. 

Why is Neom controversial?

The Neom project has sparked significant debate due to sustainability, livability, and human rights concerns. Saudi Arabia‘s track record on human rights has been widely criticised, with Freedom House rating the country 7 out of 100 in its global freedom index. Additionally, Amnesty International has highlighted 10 significant human rights issues on its website. 

Beyond the broader human rights issues within the country, specific controversies tied to the Neom project include the displacement of local communities for its construction. The development is set to take place in the ancestral lands of the Huwaitat tribe, with an estimated 20,000 members facing relocation to make way for the project. 

The Road Ahead

As Neom progresses towards its first phase completion in 2025, it stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the quest for sustainable development.  

The Road Ahead


In summary, Neom represents an intriguing exploration into the potential of eco-cities to revolutionize how we live, work, and interact with our environment. While challenges remain, the lessons learned from this ambitious project could pave the way for a new era of sustainable urban living, offering insights and inspiration for future developments around the globe. 

Want to know more about future projects? Visit Legend Properties for updated information! 

Reviewed by:

Experience hones, but constantly embracing learning and versatility is what brings you to the top.  I have had several years of experience behind me regarding sales and team management in a handful of prestigious companies in the country, and even so, I yearn for further professional and personal growth; hence, the various trainings and courses I attended. Read More

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