Saudi Arabia’s The Line construction seen by satellite


MIT The line, satellite imageNew hidden imagery not found on Google Earth, and hidden since March reveals construction progress on The Line in Saudi Arabia.

Architects are salivating over what money can do, while environmentalists fret over the idiocy of the scale: Saudi Arabia has decided to go ahead with a $500 billion project, a miles long linear city called The Line. The idea is a carless, all-in-one city in the middle of nowhere that extends through the desert into the sea. 

The plan was announced in 2021 by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. MIT Technology Review revealed that it has satellite imagery of the new vertical city with building in progress. The review paper also said that while high-res satellite data is often accessible, for The Line it is not and it is likely someone is paying for it to stay that way.

“The strange gap in imagery raises questions about who gets to access high-res satellite technology. And if the largest urban construction site on the planet doesn’t appear on Google Maps, what else can’t we see?”


Satellite imagery, MIT, The Line

Satellite imagery of The Line, under construction. The area of The Line, highlighted in yellow, shows numerous excavators in the area (red dots) moving earth to the areas in purple. Blue dots representing construction vehicles can be seen throughout the base for the construction workers. Arrays of solar panels have been shaded in green.

Soar Earth, an Australian company that aggregates satellite imagery into a digital atlas, suggests that 26 million cubic meters of earth and rock. They haven’t estimated how many people have been displaced for the construction and Saudi Arabia is hiding the murder of an activist Bedouin who refused to be transferred from his land. Members of his family are in prison, facing the death sentence

The Line will be about 150 miles long and less than half a mile high, with residents zooming around in space age electric taxis and underground shuttles. We suggest Saudi Arabia look to Dubai for a city of the future where the ruler of the UAE emirate announced plans for a 20-minute city

The Line however is more in line with pouring oil money, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 project meant to update and modernize Saudi Arabia, bringing jobs to its people. Saudi Arabia claims The Line will create 460,000 jobs and add $48 billion to the country’s GD; that it will diversify its economy, and reduce its reliance on oil. 

This so called “zero carbon” megacity, built with oil money, is expected to house 9 million people, with homes to be powered with renewable energy. Expected completion date 2030. 

We think that this Iranian version of The Line is a much more practical and sustainable way to build a linear city. 

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