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posted by janrinok on Sunday December 11 2022, @01:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the Mega-City-One dept.

Satellite Pic Shows Saudi's Sci-Fi Megacity Is Actually Being Built:

Saudi Arabia says The Line will be completed in 2030, though construction began this autumn.

Saudi Arabia's bizarre new megacity, "The Line," is going full steam ahead. While construction began on the project in October, new satellite images have revealed how much ground the project has covered, the scale of the city's length, and the layout of its construction site.

MIT's Technology Review reviewed satellite images of The Line's construction site from an Australian company called Soar, with a photo of the main base camp having been taken by a satellite from Chang Guang Satellite Technology Corporation on October 22, 2022. This main base camp is located at 28.10 degrees latitude and 35.30 degrees longitude on the eastern side of the Saudi Arabian peninsula, but Soar user Urban uploaded several images of construction occurring all along the length of the Line.

The color-coded version of the base camp shows the footprint of The Line being dug into the sand of the dessert, about 200 feet (60 meters) wide, according to Soar's scale bar. Red dots indicate at least 425 excavation vehicles at work carving out the future city's footprint, with an estimated 1.7 million cubic meters of rock and sand being dug up at this site alone. Urban's image also characterizes different parts of the construction site, such as a main construction camp in pink that is being used to house workers and arrays of solar panels in green.

Another image shows construction in the city's western site, which is located at approximately 28.15 degrees latitude and 34.68 degrees longitude. The image was taken on September 10, 2022 using a satellite from Singapore's Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company, and shows 103 excavation vehicles with an estimated 0.7 million cubic meters of earth having been excavated from this particular portion of The Line. Urban also uploaded a status update with an image taken on November 18 that compares the area that has been excavated thus to the planned area.


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday December 11 2022, @02:12PM (10 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday December 11 2022, @02:12PM (#1282006)

    https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=22/07/28/167229 [soylentnews.org]

    It was mentioned and talk about before. It's almost a surprise I must say that it now appears to have gotten off the drawing board cause as noted back then this seems like some kind of dystopian construct. Living in a building you never have to leave. Mega-city-1 indeed, all that is missing is Judge Dredd and considering it's Saudi arabia I guess they wouldn't have an issue with turning that into a reality either.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday December 11 2022, @02:55PM (7 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday December 11 2022, @02:55PM (#1282008) Journal

      It will be interesting to follow. It's arguably an arcology. It could fail during construction for technical or $$$/political reasons, become a ghost town, turn into a Kowloon Walled City/Judge Dredd hellscape, or even flourish.

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      • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Sunday December 11 2022, @03:42PM

        by stormreaver (5101) on Sunday December 11 2022, @03:42PM (#1282010)

        Isn't Saudi Arabia already a Judge Dredd hellscape?

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday December 11 2022, @06:50PM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 11 2022, @06:50PM (#1282025) Journal

        It will be interesting to follow. It's arguably an arcology.

        From here [wordnik.com]:

        arcology

        • Urban development theory proposed by Paolo Soleri involving three-dimensional building methods and efficient use of space and resources.
        • An extremely large habitat or settlement, sufficient to maintain an internal ecology as well as an extremely high human population density.

        Given how ambiguous and fluffy the definition of arcology is, I think we can take liberties here. There's basically two important features - relatively high population density and relatively self-contained. It might not be elegant (mirrors aside) or human-friendly as we see it, but a city in a box certainly should qualify especially if they manage to hit 9 million people and don't have to import everything they use.

        It strikes me as a huge pyramid project. Aside from the "you can see it from orbit" thing, if it meets objectives, they'd be packing a quarter to a fifth of the country's population into two vast buildings - pretty just to service the ego of a murderer. There's so much about it that's unrealistic.

      • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Sunday December 11 2022, @07:07PM (3 children)

        by Unixnut (5779) on Sunday December 11 2022, @07:07PM (#1282031)

        > turn into a Kowloon Walled City/Judge Dredd hellscape, or even flourish.

        Chances are, if it is ever completed and people move in, it will be a mix of the above.

        I can see it already. The penthouses and luxury flats with great views and close roof garden access are reserved/affordable for the rich "elite" and politicians, the middle levels for the administrative and "elite" service sector, then at the bottom you will have the lower/working classes, immigrants and downtrodden masses, who will probably need heavy police enforcement to not have spillover of crime and violence to the higher levels.

        Essentially like any normal city (working class/low income areas, middle-class gentrified areas, and rich highly desirable and secure areas), but all hemmed into one building, and clearly stratified by the floors which you occupy.

        Not my cup of tea, and I don't think I've met anyone who would enjoy it. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who likes to live in an apartment block at all. They are all there because they can't afford anything else, either the costs of commuting from outside are too expensive, or houses within work distance are too expensive. Then again, I've never rubbed shoulders with those who own luxury penthouses, perhaps they enjoy living in apartment blocks.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday December 12 2022, @12:33AM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday December 12 2022, @12:33AM (#1282072) Journal

          The great thing is that no matter what happens to The Line/NEOM, it's Saudi Arabia's problem. Might be worth visiting 20 years from now though.

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Monday December 12 2022, @10:33AM (1 child)

            by Unixnut (5779) on Monday December 12 2022, @10:33AM (#1282109)

            Up to a point. This project (AFAIK) was not solely Saudi Arabia's idea, but came from the WEF future city plans. SA is just the first place it is being tried, I guess because they have an abundance of money, space, an authoritarian system of government and an existing underclass, so there would not need to be many cultural changes to get this project up and running. It would be a microcosm of Saudi Arabia in a building.

            However if they get it working, I can see the idea being pushed in other places in the world. However if it does not work, as you say in 20 years time it may be a tourist attraction in itself to visit.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday December 13 2022, @07:29AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 13 2022, @07:29AM (#1282256) Journal

              This project (AFAIK) was not solely Saudi Arabia's idea, but came from the WEF future city plans.

              "WEF" is the World Economic Forum? Where are these plans?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 11 2022, @04:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 11 2022, @04:06PM (#1282012)

      all that is missing is Judge Dredd and considering it's Saudi arabia I guess they wouldn't have an issue with turning that into a reality either.

      Yeah, I think they already have "judges" going around punishing people (e.g. beating women) directly in public.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday December 12 2022, @06:19AM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday December 12 2022, @06:19AM (#1282097)

      It's almost a surprise I must say that it now appears to have gotten off the drawing board cause as noted back then this seems like some kind of dystopian construct.

      Qatar and a sampling of places in the area can already throw money at silly problems like this, and apparently have no fear of doing so because they believe that there's at least even odds that the money won't be a complete waste.

      Thank god that we there are still lobbyists in the U.S. to discourage transition to renewable resources, otherwise this sort of behavior might die out /s

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Sunday December 11 2022, @04:49PM (13 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 11 2022, @04:49PM (#1282017) Homepage Journal

    Most of us who live or have lived at northern latitudes are familiar with snow fences. You'll see them along highways, positioned to catch the snow from the prevailing winds, forcing the snow to drift high along the highway, and preventing the snow building up on the roadway.

    These people are building a giant sand fence. The wind storms will deposit millions of cubic meters of sand on one side of their beautiful structure, filtering through the windows and ventilation. Of course, the wind will sweep away all the sand on the opposite side from the sand dune. If the difference is great enough, the whole thing could come toppling down from the weight of the sand.

    They should have studied termites and ants some more. Termite mounds offer very little resistance to the wind. Of course, there aren't a lot of termites in desert lands . . .

    --
    Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday December 11 2022, @06:19PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday December 11 2022, @06:19PM (#1282021)

      I felt when I first saw the concept that a spiral made much better sense than a linear sand fence. I mean, if the prevailing winds are consistently across the construct then you'll eventually have an "underground" side and a sheltered side, if they're thinking like that. With a spiral you could more easily maintain microclimates in-between the spiral's walls and especially in the (open, in my vision) center.

      --
      🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday December 11 2022, @07:28PM (7 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 11 2022, @07:28PM (#1282036) Journal
      For what it's worth, the rows are crudely parallel to dominant wind direction (here [csegrecorder.com]) though it looks like the south side will be in the lee to some degree. You're probably right though about sand dunes and such becoming a serious problem. It'll be interesting to see how they deal with it - say huge rows of tank trap-like structures (with more planted every few years) or a massive lawn (with huge water needs).

      With the present resources they have, they can deal with it in all kinds of goofy or insanely expensive ways. A large nuclear plant, situated on the Red Sea, with desalination infrastructure can water a lot of lawn, for example, and it probably would be a modest increase to the cost of the project.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @02:20AM (6 children)

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @02:20AM (#1282083) Homepage

        Having lived in an area of blowing sand... it's not the dunes that are the problem; it's the etching. Every surface gets sandpapered every time the wind blows. Glass gets scratched and plexiglas becomes opaque within 3 years. Mind you this was in town, never mind out in the sticks.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 12 2022, @03:30PM (5 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 12 2022, @03:30PM (#1282137) Journal
          Ouch. We'll see if this is a big problem or not. I guess they would have budgeted some sort of glass replacement in and I doubt that windows 100 meters up will see the same abrasion ones near the surface would receive.
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @04:17PM (4 children)

            by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @04:17PM (#1282146) Homepage

            I think more to the point is who the hell is going to live there. Yeah, it's a giant welfare state, where everyone lives on oil money and only imported labor works, but there was already another megaproject in the region that got to the half-built state and that's where it stayed. Demand just isn't there; it's wholly an ego project.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 12 2022, @07:13PM (3 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 12 2022, @07:13PM (#1282182) Journal
              Indeed, there is so much wrong with the project. Who and why is one of the biggest. Even China with a vast population looking for new housing ended up with a bunch of ghost cities that took a long time to fill when they overbuilt willy nilly. This is much larger relative to the country's population. My guess is that they'll have a much easier time putting non-citizen immigrants in there than natives. But that many in one place is asking for serious trouble, I think. The centralization is a huge future problem, particularly since Saudi Arabia has been at war before and suffered numerous terrorist attacks over the years.

              Maybe the crown prince expects to go to war against someone from that direction and this Line will act as an effective obstacle?

              Even in the oil-fueled Middle East, you can run out of ego.
              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday December 12 2022, @07:36PM (2 children)

                by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday December 12 2022, @07:36PM (#1282185) Journal

                I think it can resist terrorist attacks much better than a megaskyscraper, or hypothetical arcologies built up vertically (very wide base, but still a skyscraper). But if an attack manages to stop all of the trains that would allow The Line to function normally, that could be a serious problem.

                China's ghost cities are a good comparison. Good luck finding millions of expats who aren't slaves to live there.

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                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @08:48PM

                  by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @08:48PM (#1282194) Homepage

                  Don't even need that much. Just cut off the water (which is probably coming mostly from the aquifer) and it's done for.

                  Said aquifer was already judged insufficient for farming (at the time the Saudis were wheat exporters, but that ended when they realized the water level was dropping).

                  Those Chinese ghost cities are an astonishing waste of concrete and steel, but an amazing real estate pyramid scheme.

                  --
                  And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
                • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @08:51PM

                  by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @08:51PM (#1282196) Homepage

                  Forgot to mention, there's already a ghost city east of Cairo -- on streetview you can see a bunch of empty new apartment buildings out in the desert, in multiple clumps. But most unfinished and no evidence of habitation. and they've been that way for years. (Also a lot of abandoned dwellings on the west side.)

                  --
                  And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday December 12 2022, @08:36AM

      by istartedi (123) on Monday December 12 2022, @08:36AM (#1282104) Journal

      On a much smaller scale, there is an eroding cliff at the border of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties in California, right along the coast. Left to its own devices, the cliff would simply wash in to the sea except that Hwy 1 (aka PCH further south) is right in the path of that. Solution? They scoop up soil and rocks from the inland side and dump it in to the ocean as needed.

      So... a bunch of loaders, and dump-trucks driving through a tunnel under The Wall on a regular basis might be the least of their problems.

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      Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @04:22PM (2 children)

      by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @04:22PM (#1282148) Homepage

      You'd be shocked. The reason there are very few old wooden buildings in the SoCal desert is because of the ground termites. Either regularly treat wood with motor oil or they'll get into it. Leave untreated wood lie on the ground for a few days and it WILL become infested, and even treated wood they'll eventually get to, and anything else that started life as cellulose. I had 'em come up through a crack in the concrete slab and get into a bag of flour.

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday December 12 2022, @08:10PM (1 child)

        by istartedi (123) on Monday December 12 2022, @08:10PM (#1282190) Journal

        Not in the desert, but in the inland coast ranges where we get the Mediterranean climate. We have ground termites too, and if you leave oak firewood on the ground it doesn't take long for it to fill with termites. After that, long needle pine but the funny thing is that they have a definite grain preference. If you leave the end of a cut round on the ground, they follow the grain up in to the wood. Lay that same round on its side and it stands a good chance of remaining intact. I had a few pieces of firewood like that, totally untouched by termites.

        Douglas fir? You can leave a round of that on the ground in any direction, and the termites won't eat it. There are studies out there that confirm this. Apparently it's not perfect, but I think you need a desperate termite with no other food sources available before they'll attack fir. It's comforting to know that this is the species used to frame most of our houses.

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        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday December 12 2022, @08:57PM

          by Reziac (2489) on Monday December 12 2022, @08:57PM (#1282197) Homepage

          Yeah, termites do have preferences. I think probably evolved to follow grain up a tree trunk (they certainly do that with the Siberian elms out in the desert), and they want the cellulose, not the lignin (why they don't attack wood that's aged black). Evergreens are definitely not their preference. But in a pinch they'll move into sawdust, lawn clippings, and as noted... flour. Once bought a bag of mulch and the durn thing was full of termites.

          The desert is not empty; it's full of critters, ALL of them hungry. Anything the ground termites don't eat, the stink beetles will....!!

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday December 12 2022, @05:42PM

    by Freeman (732) on Monday December 12 2022, @05:42PM (#1282162) Journal

    It reminds me of the move Aeon Flux. Obviously different setting, but a walled city where no one goes outside. Looks like the perfect place to film the next dystopian sci-fi thriller.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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