Saudi Arabia’s $500 Billion Bet To Build A Futuristic City In The Desert

Saudi Arabia is building a futuristic city called Neom deep in the desert and so far, $500 Billion has been pledged towards its development from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia along with local and international investors. This ambitious project plans to be 33 X the size of New York City with 16 burrough’s located along the Red Sea coast in the northwestern Saudi province of Tabuk.

Neom aims to be a global leader across 14 different sectors including, education, manufacturing and tourism by cultivating an environment “where the greatest minds and best talents are empowered to embody pioneering ideas and exceed boundaries in a world inspired by imagination.”

The name “Neom” was first envisioned by the Saudi Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Company Board of Directors, Mohammed bin Salman. The first three letters come from the Ancient Greek prefix neo – meaning ‘new’. The ‘M’ is the first from ‘Mustaqbal’, an Arabic word meaning ‘future’. The M is also the first letter of the Crown Prince.

Neom is part of Vision 2030, a government program launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that aims to achieve the goal of increased diversification, economically, socially and culturally reducing the dependence on oil. In 2019, Saudi Arabia set up the project as a driving force behind the vision.

Neom plans to integrate “cloud seeding” technology to create artificial clouds that will produce more rainfall than naturally possible in the region along with a giant artificial moon to light up the city. It also plans to have the “leading education system on the planet” with classes taught by holographic teachers and robotic dinosaurs roaming the streets. According to Saudi officials, people will get around using flying taxis and believe that in the future driving cars will just be for fun and no longer as a form of transportation. The city is currently being built with a target opening date of certain regions in 2024.

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