The Challenges and Comparisons of NEOM’s The Line Project


NEOM’s The Line is an ambitious project that aims to redefine urban living by creating a 170-kilometer linear city. This futuristic endeavor promises zero cars, zero streets, and zero carbon emissions, focusing on sustainability and advanced technology. Recently, a YouTube video highlighted potential financial and technical challenges, drawing parallels with the stalled Jeddah Tower project. However, industry insiders and architectural experts suggest that such comparisons might be misleading due to the distinct nature and vision of The Line.

“Explore the ambitious NEOM’s The Line project, its financial and technical challenges, and comparisons with Jeddah Tower. Discover insights from industry insiders and the project’s vision under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

Financial and Technical Challenges

Financial Challenges

The Line, with an estimated budget running into hundreds of billions of dollars, faces significant financial scrutiny. The project’s sheer scale necessitates massive upfront investments, making it susceptible to global economic fluctuations. Key points include:

  • Budget Estimates: Initial phases alone could require upwards of $100 billion, given the advanced infrastructure and technology integration.
  • Funding Sources: Primarily backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the project also seeks international investors and partnerships.
  • Economic Viability: Critics question the long-term economic viability, considering the project’s dependence on futuristic technology and new urban living models.
Could this be the End of The Line?

Technical Challenges

The technical complexities of The Line are vast, from its construction methods to the integration of cutting-edge technologies. Major challenges include:

  • Construction Methods: Building a city in a linear format across varied terrains presents unprecedented engineering challenges.
  • Sustainability Goals: Achieving net-zero carbon emissions requires innovative solutions in energy production, waste management, and transportation.
  • Technological Integration: The city aims to use AI and IoT to create a seamless living experience, demanding robust and fail-safe systems.

Comparisons with Jeddah Tower

Historical Context

Jeddah Tower, once poised to be the world’s tallest building, has faced numerous setbacks since construction began in 2013. Its comparison with The Line, however, requires a nuanced understanding:

  • Project Delays: Jeddah Tower’s delays stem from ownership changes and corruption issues addressed during Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive.
  • Project Scope: Unlike The Line, Jeddah Tower’s scope was limited to constructing a single skyscraper, albeit a monumental one.

Misleading Comparisons

Architectural experts argue that comparing The Line with Jeddah Tower overlooks the fundamental differences in vision and execution:

  • Holistic Development vs. Singular Focus: The Line is a comprehensive urban project, aiming to revolutionize urban living, while Jeddah Tower focuses on vertical architecture.
  • Governance and Oversight: The Line benefits from lessons learned and enhanced governance frameworks post the anti-corruption drive.
How Are Financial and Technical Challenges Affecting NEOM’s The Line Project?

Insider Perspectives

Phase One Completion

According to an architect involved in NEOM, the first phase, covering 2.4 kilometers, is progressing as planned. Key insights include:

  • Contractual Confidentiality: Strict non-disclosure agreements prevent detailed public disclosures, but the project’s internal milestones are reportedly on track.
  • Technological Milestones: Advanced construction techniques and sustainable practices are being employed, setting new benchmarks for future phases.

Vision and Ambition

The Line is not just an architectural endeavor but a manifestation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030:

  • Sustainability and Innovation: Aiming to become a global leader in sustainable urban development, The Line emphasizes green technologies and innovative urban planning.
  • Economic Diversification: By attracting global talent and investments, The Line contributes to Saudi Arabia’s broader economic diversification goals.


While financial and technical challenges loom large over NEOM’s The Line, it remains a pioneering project with the potential to redefine urban living. Comparisons with stalled projects like Jeddah Tower may be inevitable but are largely unfounded given the different scopes and contexts. The Line’s success will hinge on its ability to navigate these challenges, leveraging cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices to create a city of the future.

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