Yesterday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced an ambitious plan to construct a $500B mega-city called NEOM by 2025.
The proposed 10,230-mile city would span 3 countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan), run entirely on renewable energy sources, and serve as a “hub of cutting edge research and technology.”
In the prince’s words, it will be “a place for the dreamers of the world.”
What exactly does that mean?
NEOM is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan — a larger initiative aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil by branching into new economic sectors, like energy, water, biotech, and media.
The city will operate on 6 core principles, defined as these ‘Futuristic Concepts’:
- Make human beings a top priority (AKA freedom of speech and expression)
- Build the “next generation” of transportation (AKA have bike lanes)
- Full automation of government services (AKA no more long lines for basic services)
- Digitization of everything (AKA free internet and online education)
- Sustainability (AKA 100% renewable energy sources)
- Construction innovation (AKA crazy awesome buildings)
The bill will be footed by the Saudi government, and a range of private and public investors, including Softbank founder Masayoshi Son.
The big pic
The prince has stated that he hopes to shift toward a more “moderate Islam,” and the ideals of NEOM signify not just big economic shifts but a broader push toward more progressive cultural norms.
As for how this unimaginable undertaking will actually play out, time will tell.