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Saudi Arabia’s New Futuristic City-NEOM
이정화   |   2018. 02. 15 17:37   |  
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On October 24, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the launch of NEOM project, a new futuristic megacity covering an area three times the size of New York City. According to the fact sheet of NEOM, it is the world’s first independent special zone stretching over three countries , which are Jordan, Israel and Egypt with a bridge over the Red Sea. The project will be backed by more than 500 billion dollars over by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

NEOM aims to be a leading global center as the most technologically advanced city. Actually, the most underlying purpose of this project is to put Saudi Arabia at the forefront of technological advances and lessen 

Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports. According to NEOM’s offical website, it is said that project is focused on nine specialized investment sectors and living conditions that will drive the future of human civilization, energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological and digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment with livability as its foundation, which will return about 70 billion dollars in revenue back into the Kingdom. One of his unconventional remarks, which dealt a blow to extremist ideologies was the city will be free to operate outside of governmental regulations, meaning that Saudi Arabia will return to  “Moderate Islam” such as allowing women to drive and their entry into society.

Development Progress Situation

Despite its so-called innovative and revolutionary project, there is a questionable point. When Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced this huge project, any detailed or specific plans for implementation weren’t stated. However, according to an infographic on NEOM’s website, construction on the project is already ongoing.  

Negative impacts of building NEOM on the poor

NEOM is also called as a luxury lifestyle community with top class restaurants and entertainment facilities. He also mentioned that everything will have a link to A.I. (artificial intelligence) and Internet, so all of the systems develops itself in how to provide people with better things. It is just like a small world full of robots and AI, making robots replacing the jobs and activities of human become a reality. While the construction of NEOM can have some positive influence on whole communities and their economies, it can adversely affect the people living in poverty. Would poor people need these high technologies? Can they even get at least a chance or access to it? No. Building NEOM increases not only class segregation but also economic disparity. What they mostly need is houses to live in, some money to earn a living and jobs. With a greater deal of money spent on building NEOM and extensive technological advances, more jobs will be eliminated and replaced by robots. Too much attention is paid on NEOM. What’s more, Prince said “This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world.” From this statement, we can find out that NEOM is a place for some specific people “Dreamers for the world”, meaning it is not for everyone. To conclude, the balanced attention between the construction of NEOM and potential damage on the poor is needed. 


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