BAFFLING new designs for Saudia Arabia’s The Line have cast further doubt over whether the £1trillion city will ever be finished.

The latest concept images for the futuristic project, which includes a ship travelling through the linear smart city, appear to be closer in resemblance to optical illusions than they do to reality.

The Line is supposed to be the crown jewel in the Saudi government's Vision 2030

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The Line is supposed to be the crown jewel in the Saudi government’s Vision 2030
Graphic renders of the metropolis show that it will be encased in two long mirrored skyscrapers lying sideways

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Graphic renders of the metropolis show that it will be encased in two long mirrored skyscrapers lying sideways
Pictures show the confusing metropolis floating over a marina

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Pictures show the confusing metropolis floating over a marina
The mirrored structure looks like something out of a sci-fi film

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The mirrored structure looks like something out of a sci-fi filmCredit: YouTube/NEOM

Located in the Tabuk Province and facing Egypt across the Red Sea, the futuristic project will become part of the new urban area of Neom.

Alongside the new concept images, Neom’s social media account claimed the 106-mile metropolis will “redefine liveability” and “transform how we live​”.

Yet it didn’t take long for critics to slam the confusing images, which depict two long mirrored skyscrapers surrounding the city.

But with the mirrors set to reflect the sky, surrounding desert and water, it gives off the illusion of invisibility – and therefore makes the city vanish for ships approaching from a certain angle.

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This offers little explanation as to what purpose the futuristic marina would serve or how it would be accessed.

Yet it comes as the latest in a long list of dilemmas for The Line since the ambitious plans were first announced.

Meanwhile, analysts claim the huge structure will kill billions of birds who use the route to migrate every year between Europe and Africa, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In a previous study, experts claimed that the giant mirrored facades, the orientation of the city and the plans to add wind turbines on top of it would pose a significant threat to the birds that fly over Saudi Arabia every year.

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Professor William Sutherland, director of research in Cambridge University’s zoology department, told The Times: “Birds flying into tall windows is a serious problem, and this is a building that is 500m high going across Saudi Arabia, with windmills on top.

“So unless they do something about it, there’s a serious risk that there could be lots of damage to migratory birds.”

Some people also cast doubt over the technology touted for the project that does not exist and is yet to be invested.

And while the project has been pitched as a green, sustainable city of the future, leading environmental researchers have identified the project as one of the most pressing conversation issues to watch out for.

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM was predicted to cost £1.2trillion to build but reports have since claimed it could be closer to the $2trillion mark if built in full.

This has led to plans for the 106-mile-long sideways skyscraper to be dramatically scaled back.

The Line was to be home to 1.5 million residents by the end of the decade who were to be served by robots and AI creations.

But the giga-project hoped by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to move Saudi Arabia‘s economy away from its reliance on oil may not proceed as expected.

EGO TRIP Saudi Arabia insists first part of $500bn NEOM Megacity WILL be open this year with ultra-lux island resort

The Line is s now looking more likely that it will stretch a measly 2.4km and house only 300,000 people by 2030, according to reports seen by The Telegraph.

The “unsurprising” scale-down is said by experts to reflect the Saudi government’s struggles to win over foreign investors, as well as the nation’s vulnerability to oil prices.

Torbjorn Soltvedt, principal analyst at risk consultancy Maplecroft
Advertisement, told The Telegraph: “Foreign direct investment investors haven’t really bought into the Crown Prince’s vision for a new Saudi Arabia.”

Earlier this year, incredible aerial images revealed the mind-bending scale of the planned futuristic megacity as a 105-mile-long chasm was carved out of mountains and desert.

However, it remains to be seen exactly what progress has been made, with the latest pictures of the construction site showing a bare desert landscape and no apparent foundations.

Inside Saudi Arabia’s £1.2trillion investment

SAUDI Arabia is set to spend £138billion every year on mega projects between 2025 and 2028.

Here are some of the most ambitious projects the Middle Eastern country plans to launch by 2030.

NEOM– It is set to be a Jetsons-style ultra-modern metropolis in contrast to the other very conservative parts of the desert kingdom.

Backed by Saudi’s £400billion Private Investment Fund – the group which bought Newcastle United – the plans for Neom are so ambitious that some of the technology doesn’t even exist yet.

Planning docs show the city will have flying taxis – a vehicle depicted in science fiction films such as Blade Runner and Back to the Future II.

The most striking thing about Neom is a mirrored megastructure called The Line – a 110-mile, 500m tall and 200m wide mirrored building that will connect Neom to the rest of the kingdom.

Red Sea Project – The Red Sea Project is a tourism development on an archipelago of Saudi Arabian islands with its dedicated airport. 

It’s set to be built on 90 undeveloped islands between Umluj and Al Wajh on Saudi Arabia’s west coast.

Super Cave Hotel – Also part of Neom, Leyja will be a jaw-dropping hotel complex carved into the walls of a giant canyon.

Directors of the project claim it will open its doors to tourists in 2024 – despite not being built yet.

It will have three state-of-the-art hotels, designed by world-leading architects to blend in with the natural surroundings that make up 95 per cent of the futuristic city.

The hotels will have 120 luxurious rooms and will operate completely sustainably to provide “distinct experiences”.

Future City Epicon – Epicon is the latest megalomaniac development to be announced by Neom on November 15.

This futuristic coastal city will feature residential beach villas, hotels, and a luxurious resort.

Located on the Gulf of Aqaba, Epicon will be comprised of two ultra-modern towers, measuring 738ft and 908ft.

The sky-high destination will be home to 41 hotels and luxury homes, offering 14 suites and hotel apartments.

Close to the pair of luxury towers, Epicon’s very own resort will be located, featuring 120 rooms and 45 stunning residential beach villas.

Epicon will also offer a beach club, spas, an array of recreational activities and water sports, culinary options for every palate, and the natural beauty of the shorelines in Neom.

‘BUILT OVER BLOOD’

Beneath the glitzy facades of NEOM lies the story of threats, forced evictions and bloodshed.

Many projects have faced fierce criticism over human rights abuses – including the £400billion Neom project where tribes were shoved out of their homeland, imprisoned or executed.

At least 20,000 members of the Huwaitat tribe face eviction, with no information about where they will live in the future.

Authorities in the port city of Jeddah also demolished many houses to implement Saudi’s development plans – with thousands of locals evicted illegally.

One campaigner claimed: “Neom is built on Saudi blood.”

Jeed Basyouni, Middle East director of the human rights organisation Reprieve, told DW: “We have seen, time and again, that anyone who disagrees with the crown prince, or gets in his way, risks being sentenced to jail or to death.”

READ MORE SUN STORIES

In 2022, Saudi Arabia sentenced three tribesmen to death for refusing to leave the desert site of the futuristic supercity Neom.

The trio from the Howeitat tribe had protested against their forcible eviction from the northern Tabuk province to make way for the ultra-modern metropolis.

An artist's impression of the tall parallel structures that would make up The Line

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An artist’s impression of the tall parallel structures that would make up The Line
The proposed Line is just 200 metres wide

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The proposed Line is just 200 metres wide

Source: Sun

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