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Everybody and his uncle sent me this world-beating humdinger. Thanks to all you-all!

Behold: the architectural wonder of the world called The Line, a feature of Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a utopian, super-gigantic, techno-grandiose, mega-city — a 75 miles-long combo landscraper / skyscraper 1600 feet high, with a mirrored exterior.  The line is actually two buildings running parallel its entire 75-mile length, sandwiching a “zero-gravity” metropolis between them, stuffed with trees and other furnishings related to “nature.” The publicity literature does not explain how trees will grow in zero gravity, considering that the entire life-function of trees is based on how water behaves under earth’s gravity. But no matter, the videos show people flying through the thing, and that’s what matters in a world techno-culture under the sway of super-hero movies. Also included are “swim lanes for commuters” (WTF?) and a ski resort. Estimated cost is $1-trillion, which one would have to consider naively low.

Here’s a gander at the interior. Green-O-Rama! Of such stuff are eco-utopian dreams made! Do the leaves drop with the seasons?  Better order fifty-thousand leaf blowers. Anyone who lives in the US sub-tropics — Florida, Texas, etc — knows that evergreen trees and palms drop a lot of “tree-shit” too, year-round, which the maintenance crew constantly has to clean up. How many thousands of janitors will be required for the 75-mile length of this project  More below:

Here’s a nice touch: a soccer stadium 1000-feet up in the air (roughly a hundred stories). Cute. I’d like to see the engineering specs for that. NEOM is the brain-child of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. We’ll stand by to see what happens. My guess: the whole thing will be reduced to a half-dozen condo towers on the Red Sea coast… and… with Western Civ collapsing and global tourism flickering out… NEOM and The Line will never even get started.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

17 Responses to “August 2022”

  1. Zoltar August 2, 2022 at 5:25 pm #

    Dazzlingly nonsensical.

  2. DaveO907 August 2, 2022 at 9:19 pm #

    “But, but… but….” Just but. And never.

  3. RicF August 2, 2022 at 11:46 pm #

    This monstrosity is nothing other than Paolo Soleri’s Linear City concept cranked up to 11. The interior shots are nearly identical. Soleri created this for the Chinese government to run along the high speed rail connecting major Chinese cities.

    Nothing new under the sun.

    • RicF August 3, 2022 at 9:00 am #

      (Linear City disappeared without a trace and not one shovel of dirt thrown. I predict the same fate for this “project”.)

  4. Chris at Fernglade Farm August 3, 2022 at 7:09 am #

    Hi Jim,

    I want to see them give this juggernaut a go. It will be an instructive lesson in what the word ‘failure’ means.

    Meanwhile in the real world, with inflation kicking some serious goals and interest rates on the rise, construction companies on fixed price contracts do seem to be having a rather rough time of it, if the collapses are anything to go by.

    An interesting time to be alive.



  5. RCAnderson August 3, 2022 at 11:29 am #

    And why a straight line? Wouldn’t a circle or group of circles be more manageable? But then, I guess, they DO have the room there. I also wonder what will happen the mideast kingdoms when we no longer have a petrol based economy; will they revert to Bedouin tribalism?

    • Onomatopoeia August 8, 2022 at 8:58 am #


    • SG-71 August 19, 2022 at 8:27 am #

      Only the current bedouins would survive, as they are the only ones with the skills or fortitude to survive the collapse. Therefore the word “revert” does not apply.

  6. Allahs 3rd Nipple August 3, 2022 at 12:47 pm #

    In my younger days we used to call absurdities such as this “techno-masturbation fantasies”, a term which evidently needs to make a comeback.

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  7. bymitch August 3, 2022 at 5:23 pm #

    Clearly driven by designers with no concept of consequence of actions.
    I could kick back and wow myself with all sorts of fantasies, all day long, too.
    Like 101 ways to pimp a banana split. mmmmmmm
    Got my juices going just writing that idea down.
    But, somewhere in the back of my mind, I do know that living out this fantasy, by producing and consuming such grand designs, might have some negative effect on my overall health.

  8. JackStraw August 4, 2022 at 5:57 pm #

    When I saw this, I thought of sending it to Jim, but I knew 100 people had already beat me to it.

    Of all the fantasy buildings that I’ve seen proposed, this one is in a class by itself. It looks like some dystopian movie where the building is actually a prison. The desert of Saudi Arabia would certainly make for a good mega-prison location in the future.

    Only a trillion? Such a bargain!

  9. Dr. Coyote August 4, 2022 at 9:15 pm #

    Why a 75 mile line? This just means that wherever you are, on average you’re 35 miles from where you need to be. How convenient! Play that game 5 times a day and see how much free time you have left.

  10. tucsonspur August 5, 2022 at 3:48 am #

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, is not this folly much too tall, too grand in dream and too ugly in sprawl? Give me the glorious Arabian Nights and abandon, curse, this Arabian Fright.

    Put the freeze on this silly endeavor of Abdulaziz, perhaps fantasized just for his pleasure and to minimize the treasure of Nebuchadnezzar.

  11. holdfastspike August 10, 2022 at 12:53 pm #

    i envision Arabian tent pavilions surrounding a beautiful clean desert oasis, the smell of jasmine, sandalwood, and rose drifting on the night air and Led Zeppelin performing acoustically for a few dozen lucky elites. this is a more realistic future than this horrifying monument to the Great Satan.

  12. Jo-G August 12, 2022 at 9:47 am #

    The lagoon looked like a giant stingray.

    But what about the geographic alignment? North-South or East-West or what? No matter what the alignment is the heating differential and length of the gap should produce interesting wind turbulence effects. With the right alignments it might generate awesome dust-devils or waterspouts at one end or the other. Prevailing winds could pile dust and sand against one side. I see no solar panels and no wind turbines, they know the oil will run out so maybe nuclear power will run the high speed rail. I’d like to see this built just for the entertainment value.

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  13. SG-71 August 19, 2022 at 8:31 am #

    There are 2 Landscape Architecture firms in my region working on parts of this… I might call them stupid for joining in, but if they are sucking currency back for themselves out of the Prince’s stupidity, then good for them because there’s literally zero chance their professional licenses will be on the line.

  14. anmariwakaranai August 25, 2022 at 5:20 pm #

    Hey, if the Prince is paying, giv’er!