Scaling Down the Dream: Saudi Arabia Adjusts its Vision for the Desert Megacity | Kanebridge News
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Scaling Down the Dream: Saudi Arabia Adjusts its Vision for the Desert Megacity

Saudi Arabia appears to be recalibrating its ambitious plans for a futuristic desert megacity, originally envisioned as a hallmark of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic strategy to diversify away from oil.

Fri, Apr 12, 2024 3:58pmGrey Clock 2 min

Known as The Line, this linear urban development was to redefine the concept of a city, boasting a 105-mile stretch of glass-walled structures in the desert. However, recent developments suggest a considerable scale back, with the project now expected to extend merely a mile and a half by 2030, a far cry from its original scope.

The Line: A Vision of the Future Confronts Reality

Envisioned as part of the broader Neom project, the Line promised a revolutionary approach to urban living. Designed to house around 9 million people within 13 square miles, the project was a bold statement against traditional city planning, featuring car-free streets and one of the world’s fastest trains for connectivity.

The vision was not just about building a city but about creating a new way of life, as promoted. However, recent reports indicate that the project is under pressure, with budget constraints and a changing vision leading to downsized ambitions and layoffs among contractors.

Challenges and Criticisms: The Road Ahead for Neom

The journey of The Line from a grandiose dream to its current state reflects broader challenges within Saudi Arabia‘s ambitious Neom project. Initially pitched with a budget of $1.5 trillion, the venture aimed to position itself as a landmark of urban innovation.

Yet, it has been stuck in controversy and scepticism, from the displacement of tribes to allegations of unrealistic planning and execution. The financial underpinnings of the project have also come into question, with the 2024 budget for Neom still pending approval amid fading cash reserves of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.

Promoted as a leap into a utopian future, where artificial intelligence ensures an unparalleled quality of life, The Line has faced its share of criticism for its elevated ambitions.

Critics argue that the project’s portrayal often veers into the realm of fantasy, overshadowing practical and ethical concerns. As Saudi Arabia moves forward with its vision for Neom, balancing ambitious innovation with realistic planning and sensitivity to human and environmental impacts remains a critical challenge.



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UAE Initiates State-Owned EV Charging Initiative to Boost Electric Vehicle Acceptance

The United Arab Emirates is improving its electric vehicle infrastructure with a new government-owned EV charging network.

Wed, May 22, 2024 2 min

The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) alongside Etihad Water and Electricity (Etihad WE) have collaborated to form UAEV, a new joint venture aimed at strengthening the electric vehicle (EV) charging framework throughout the UAE. This venture is the first EV charging network entirely owned by the government, aimed at broadening access to EV charging facilities across the country.

The project seeks to revolutionize the UAE’s transport sector by enabling broader adoption of EVs via a robust and widespread charging infrastructure. This initiative is expected to strengthen communities, generate employment, and promote eco-friendly transportation options.

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “UAEV embodies the power of partnership between government and industry, and aims to provide vital electric vehicle infrastructure to boost adoption of EVs, energize communities, and unleash the economic potential of the UAE.

“We hope that this partnership will further accelerate the transition to cleaner transportation and significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector, thereby helping to bring our Net Zero 2050 Strategy within reach.”

Sharif Al Olama, who has been appointed Chairman of UAEV, said: “In 2023, we saw a rise in EV adoption in the UAE. By expanding our EV infrastructure, we ensure the country is equipped to support those who have already purchased an EV and make the prospect of switching to EV attractive.

“Together, MoEI and Etihad WE form a powerful force that can help future-proof the UAE and achieve the twin objectives of economic growth and climate action, which underpin UAEV.”

The UAEV is also a perfect platform for Etihad WE, the largest employer in the Northern Emirates and a company with a customer base of over 2 million households, to use its core competency and enhance its product offering.

Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, CEO of Etihad Water and Electricity and Board Member of UAEV, explained: “It is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify our operations, using the knowledge and experience acquired from our role as long-standing pioneers in the energy sector, to explore new products, services, projects, and investments which will benefit our customers.

“UAEV charging infrastructure will contribute to the modernization of the UAE’s transport network, help energize communities by creating new jobs, and empower our customers to make more sustainable choices.”

 

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