The hubris of the planners of that now vastly scaled down Saudi urban mega-project had been something to behold – Asia Times

The hubris of the planners of that now vastly scaled down Saudi urban mega-project had been something to behold - Asia Times

From Brasilia to Islamabad, both the public and private sectors have a long record of organized capital construction.

More recently, two changes have come up in a new wave of creative urban planning.

On the one hand, there are the liberal” exclusive economic area” policies that have grown to become a nearly unrequited global economic article of faith in the 1980s. On the other hand, there is the” smart town,” where big data is generated by widespread perceiving and surveillance, and from which are supposed to emerge solutions to all city problems.

We now have the formula for nearly every fresh city plan that is being made, sprinkled with artificial intelligence fairy dust. In fact, the modern ideal city is a data- driven, complimentary- market paradise.

Shifting wheels

Saudi Arabia’s liberal and totalitarian kingdom is well aware that the fossil fuel economy, which supports its sovereign and private wealth, is about to end. Riyadh is constantly trying to switch to new sources of income in order to future-proof its business in a carbon-neutral world in anticipation of the unavoidable end of fossil fuels.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s prime minister and de facto leader, has some of the work that has been done to extend the kingdom’s” sweet power” to areas that are important to him personally, such as the extension of soft power. The profitable professional sports from sport to tennis are seen in Saudi Arabia, which is perhaps most obvious.

However, the additional imagine that Saudi Arabia has been making is in places.

It has been investing its oil income in dozens of eye-catching industrial projects, from completely ports to towns built around theme parks, under the vision 2030 symbol.

Riyadh is instead investing on the idea that if we build it, they will come because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does n’t have many homegrown digital or technological businesses. Simply put, Saudi Arabia is attempting to attract international companies, manufacturers, logistics companies and tourists to relieve its transition to a article- oil market.

Appearance upon my runs

NEOM is the most ambitious of all of Bin Salman’s strategies to attract international investment. However, the name NEOM is a luggage of the Greek ‘ neo’ and the first notice of Mohammed Bin Salman’s title.

YouTube video

A sight to behold the NEOM programs and promotion that have been published.

NEOM will contain all in one large development. A coastal tourist town, a free port, a logistics hub, and perhaps a mountain sports playground may be present. NEOM’s core appeal, however, surely is The Line.

The Line, a 170 km straight city made of reflective material, was intended to erupt from the Red Sea into the deep desert like a sword on the Arabian flag.

In addition to entire surveillance and advanced AI, the NEOM advertisements promised independence and multiculturalism in one of the world’s most autocratic and cosmopolitan societies.

An earlier report from the consulting firm suggested including a fake sky, drone ships, and service robots as the “population” would make up 50 % of the original plans, which was even more outrageous.

Norman Foster, the founder of Google’s Sidewalk Labs, and Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of the original advisory board. The majority of the more well-known experts appear to have slowly left the project in recent years.

Scaled interests

Today, almost as soon as earth had been broken, it was announced that the core program has been scrapped. The Line has vanished, and plans for a much smaller, 2.44 km long area have been made in its place, a mere jump away from The Line’s unique misguided goals.

Was The Line merely a publicity stunt to attract speculative foreign funding money, or only a public relations training? In consumer there may have been many amazement. The Line project has essentially been a strange, untenable, and grandiose fantasy in the background.

One of the most important geopolitically substantial and occasionally tumultuous regions of the world, where Saudi Arabia edges Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, is where NEOM will be constructed. Perhaps even more tremendously, NEOM may be built in a place where summer daylight conditions are already&nbsp, heading above 50 C in our era of global warming. ( That’s 122 F. )

Who would want to sit at the far end of a 170-kilometer horizontal terrace, where the only exitway was an “intelligent” coach program? And how would safety be managed for a place where freedom and lawful techniques were guaranteed, both internally and externally, in a country that was the most conservative in the world?

How could NEOM prevent Saudi separatists from entering or traversing it? Although business publications have revealed Bin Salman was considering a completely private authorities force and a professional drone surveillance control center for The Line, security and surveillance have not been included in the published plans.

Three Howeitat community members, who had opposed this unconventional advancement on their standard lands, had already been executed by the kingdom.

Harsh instructions

Other than that, it’s not yet clear whether the NEOM program may be reduced.

It is doubtful that Bin Salman will depart the potentially profitable Port of NEOM because work has already begun on the holiday resort town of Sindalah in the Red Sea. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.

Some dreamlike places have been realized in vain. However, NEOM also exemplifies a large and continual failure of the imagination brought on by a capitalism that is conceited as being blinded by fossil fuel ideology and incapable of accepting the need to address the global warming crisis, the persistent war and genocide, and the need to end it.

It’s about time for powerful corporations and nation-states like Saudi Arabia, which are in charge of causing the climate crisis both historically and historically, to begin acting on this role seriously. Instead of investing money in fanciful, untenable, and totalitarian urban mega-projects, the world may be investing in making existing cities sustainably and just on a human scale.

David Murakami Wood is a professor of vital surveillance and stocks studies at L’Universit√© d’Ottawa/ University of Ottawa.

The Conversation has republished this essay under a Creative Commons license. Read the original post.