The idea of The Line is born from the simple observation that modern cities are unsustainable. But the fact is, we leave in a world where cities are the future. For example, in France, 90% of the population lives in an urban area[1]. Furthermore, we are witnessing an increase of the number of people living in peripheric areas. This phenomenon underlines the importance of transportation in our lives and as we all know, transports are one of the major Green House Gas (GHG) sources.

The Line is a futurist city project that is being built in Saudi Arabia. The city is imagined as a straight line of 170 km and four community points to welcome a total of one million habitants.

We can read on the project’s website that “[The Line] will reimagine the way we approach urban development, overcoming challenges of modern cities and prioritizing people”.

The logic behind the project is to re-think the city instead of trying to modify and adjust every time we face a problem. This shift when designing is only possible when you build it from nothing, but we could apply this principle, to a certain extent, in our cities to.

For example, The Line creates areas where everything we need is 5 minutes away. This allows the city to get rid of cars completely. Drastically reducing time transportation, GHG emissions and the general quality of living.

The city is built around a fast and efficient public transportation system that is operated by artificial intelligence. It takes a maximum of 20 minutes of transportation to go from one community point to another. The transports are located underneath the surface at a “Spine Layer” allowing architects to free up space in living areas.

AI enables The Line to be more efficient thus reducing its environmental impact. In fact, the project is said to preserve 95% of nature around it and generate zero carbon emissions. Goods delivery and services are monitored between the “Pedestrian Layer” (the surface) and the “Spine Layer”. Again, hiding such an immense space allows the city to be very minimalist and focus on the true needs of our everyday living.

Of course, such a project raises questions. The Line will host of the biggest airport in the world which is an important GHG emissions source. Building a “clean” and “sustainable city” from the scratch in the desert is also something that seems a bit contradictory to say the least.

But in the end, The Line sets the example of a new way of approaching urban living. It shows us that nothing is set in stone and that everything we know could be revolutionized.

If you are interested in reading more about this project and especially in a more “visual way” I suggest you go on the official website.

[1] Source : INSEE 2017.

A propos de Antoine REBESCO