“Saudi Arabia is building an eco-city in the middle of the desert!” Scorch declared.
“What is an eco-city?” Verum said.
“Eco-city is a green city. It is an environmentally friendly city. It is built while taking into account the impacts on the environment,” Scorch answered.
Scorch added, “Neom will cover an area 26,500 sq-km (10,230 sq-miles). It will be larger than countries like Kuwait or Israel. It will have glow-in-the-dark beaches. There will be billions of trees and it will be car-free. The region will also have a fake moon!
The huge region will also include a 170km (105m) long city – The Line. It will be built in stages, block by block. Each square of the city will be self-sufficient. Stores and schools will be a five-minute walk or cycle away. It will have hyper-speed trains for long-distance travel.
Neom will also have Oxagon, a city floating on water. It will cover an area of 7km (4.3 miles). It will be the largest floating structure in the world!”
“You know what? There’s more,” Scorch said, “Neom will also have the world’s largest coral reef restoration project. Parts of Neom are already built. The first phase is expected to be ready by 2025.”
“Woah, sounds like a futuristic, dream city!” Orak said.
“I know, right?” Scorch said.
“But how can a city, especially an eco-city, be built in a desert?!” Felix looked shocked.
“Many have the same doubts,” Scorch said.
She added, “Neom is a $500bn (£366bn) project. It is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to reduce the country’s dependence on oil. But experts worry that it will have a high cost.
Saudi Arabia relies on food imports from other countries. If Neom aims to be food sufficient, food will be grown locally with environmentally friendly techniques. It will require a lot of money.
Neom’s advisory board says that Neom will be for everyone. But so far, it looks like it’s only for the rich. Two towns were cleared from the area and 20,000 members were forcibly removed to make space for the city.”
Felix nodded vigorously, “Exactly.”
“We will know in the coming years how Neom shapes out to be,” Orak said.