The net-zero city, OXAGON, will be powered by 100% clean energy and will become a focal point for industry leaders
In the latest edition of the Saudi ambitious planned futuristic cities, the World’s first non-profit city was announced by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Mohammed bin Salman Misk Foundation. His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman also announced the establishment of OXAGON, forming the next phase of NEOM’s master plan and representing a radical new model for future manufacturing centers.
The Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City is designed to become a model for the development of the non-profit sector globally and an incubator for youth and volunteer groups as well as local and international non-profit institutions.
This comes following the announcement of the world’s most important key giga-projects, NEOM in 2017 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify away from its oil-based economy. The crown jewel of NEOM is ‘The LINE’ city which will be the world’s first city that has no cars and no streets where residents can walk anywhere.
Sustainability has been at the heart of Saudi Vision 2030 since its inception. Saudi Arabia is now ushering in a new era as the Kingdom aims to reach Net Zero by 2060. This announcement is in line with wider Vision 2030 ambitions to accelerate the energy transition, achieve sustainability goals, and drive a new wave of investment.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City
In the world’s first, the new non-profit city will play a major role in achieving the goals of the Mohammed bin Salman Misk Foundation in supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, and qualifying future leaders, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has revealed.
The city will achieve this by defining non-profit work in its internal operational concept and in terms of opportunities and youth training programs it will provide. In addition, the project will provide services that contribute to creating an attractive environment for all beneficiaries of the city’s offerings.
HRH added: “Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City which implements the Digital Twin model, will host academies, colleges, ‘Misk Schools’, a conference center, a science museum, and a creative center offering a space to support the ambitions of innovators in sciences and new generation technology such as AI, IoT, and Robotics. It will also feature an arts academy and art gallery, a performing art theatre, a play area, a cooking academy, and an integrated residential complex. In addition, the city will host venture capital firms and investors to support and incubate innovative enterprises to drive community contributions from around the world.”
According to Misk Foundation, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City, is located on land dedicated by His Highness the Crown Prince, in the Irqah neighborhood, adjacent to Wadi Hanifa.
The city expands over an area of around 3.4 square kilometers. The city’s master plan embodies a human-centered, advanced digital metropolis designed to be sustainable, and pedestrian-friendly, and will allocate more than 44% of the total area for green open spaces to promote sustainable development.
The announcement of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City is led by the goal of creating a vibrant Saudi youth talent system to shape the future of the Kingdom and the world, by encouraging learning and developing leadership skills among youth. Details surrounding the development phases and progress of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Non-Profit City will be announced in the coming months.
OXAGON: A Radical New Model for Future Manufacturing Centers
The newly announced floating industrial city represents a radical new model for future manufacturing centers, based on NEOM’s strategies of redefining the way humanity lives and works in the future.
On the occasion of the announcement on the establishment of the city, His Royal Highness said: “OXAGON will be the catalyst for economic growth and diversity in NEOM and the Kingdom, further meeting our ambitions under Vision 2030. OXAGON will contribute to redefining the world’s approach to industrial development in the future, protecting the environment while creating jobs and growth for NEOM. It will contribute to Saudi Arabia’s regional trade and commerce, and support creating a new focal point for global trade flows. I am pleased to see that business and development have started on the ground and we look forward to the city’s rapid expansion.”
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said: “Through OXAGON, there will be a fundamental shift in how the world views manufacturing centers. What encourages us is to see the enthusiasm of a number of our partners who have shown eagerness to start their projects in OXAGON. These pioneers of change will establish factories, developed with the latest technologies in artificial intelligence, to achieve a significant leap for this era into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As with THE LINE, OXAGON will be a comprehensive cognitive city that provides exceptional livability for its residents.”
Comprising a large area in the southwest corner of NEOM, the core urban environment is centered around the integrated port and logistics hub that will house the majority of the city’s anticipated residents. The unique octagonal design minimizes impact on the environment and provides optimal land usage, with the remainder open to preserve 95% of the natural environment. A defining feature of the city is the world’s largest floating structure, which will become a center for NEOM’s Blue Economy and achieve sustainable growth.
OXAGON complements the same philosophy and principles of THE LINE and will offer exceptional livability in harmony with nature. Ideally located on the Red Sea close to the Suez Canal, through which approximately 13% of the globe’s trade passes, OXAGON will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced logistics hubs with state-of-the-art integrated port and airport connectivity.
OXAGON will establish the world’s first fully integrated port and supply chain ecosystem for NEOM. The port, logistics, and rail delivery facility will be unified, providing world-class productivity levels with net-zero carbon emissions, and setting global benchmarks in the adoption of technology and environmental sustainability.
The agile and integrated physical and digital supply chain and logistics system will allow for real-time planning, resulting in secure on-time delivery, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness for industry partners.
At OXAGON’s core will be the adoption of the most advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), human-machine fusion, artificial and predictive intelligence, and robotics, all of which are coupled to a network of fully automated distribution centers and autonomous last-mile delivery assets to drive NEOM’s ambitions of creating a seamless integrated, intelligent and efficient supply chain.
The net-zero city will be powered by 100% clean energy and will become a focal point for industry leaders who want to pioneer change to create the advanced and clean factories of the future.
Seven sectors form the nucleus of OXAGON’s industrial development, with innovation and new technology creating a vital base for these industries. These industries are sustainable energy; autonomous mobility; water innovation; sustainable food production; health and well-being; technology and digital manufacturing (including telecommunications, space technology, and robotics); and modern methods of construction; all powered by 100% renewable energy.
Many of the features of THE LINE that offer exceptional livability are reflected in the urban landscape of OXAGON. Communities will be walkable, or via hydrogen-powered mobility. The sustainable industry will be built around the communities, minimizing commute time and providing exceptional livability with nature seamlessly integrated into the urban environment.
OXAGON will innovate to create a truly circular economy with a collaborative environment built around research and innovation: OXAGON’s innovation campus will host the Education, Research, and Innovation (ERI) ecosystem to rival established global centers.
Development of OXAGON is well underway and designs are in progress for the large manufacturing facilities. These facilities include the world’s largest green hydrogen project involving Air Products, ACWA Power, and NEOM in a tri-partite venture; the world’s largest and most advanced modular building construction factory with Gulf Modular International; and the largest hyperscale data center in the region, a joint venture between FAS Energy and NEOM.
With a best-in-class regulatory system of its kind for mass support, OXAGON will grow rapidly and welcome its first manufacturing tenants at the beginning of 2022.
The Line: An Eco-friendly Paradise
In November, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started construction work on its eco-friendly futuristic desert city “The Line.” Once completed, the city will be free of cars and roads and be powered by 100% clean energy, with residents expected to move in as early as 2024.
HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman first announced plans for The Line, a 170km (105-mile) long series of urban areas along a central ‘spine,’ back in January in a televised address.
Currently, work has started, with bulldozers and diggers working day and night moving earth and tunneling through mountains to install the linear city’s three layers: a surface region for pedestrians, plus two subterranean layers for transport and infrastructure.
Nadhmi A. Al-Nasr, the CEO of NEOM told Bloomberg in November that it’s a huge undertaking, adding that currently less than 1% of the planned work has been completed. However, the NEOM CEO revealed that work in the city will not just start at one point, but probably will start from two points and will build toward the center.
The Line is expected to be ready for inhabitants and tourists as early as the first quarter of 2024, said Al-Nasr, adding, “today if you go to NEOM you will see construction all over, you will see earthworks going on all over, you will see regions that are being developed.”
In 2017, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince announced the world’s most ambitious project, a new city called NEOM in Saudi Arabia’s northwest deserts.
The $500 billion futuristic megacity is being built from scratch on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future.
The mega-city which would house more than one million residents will feature towns and cities, ports, and enterprise zones, the first of which were announced in early 2021 and dubbed THE LINE. Nevertheless, NEOM will also include research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.
Running on artificial intelligence, it was described by its head of technology and digital Joseph Bradley as “the first cognitive city.”
The Line will reshape how we live
In January 2021, the Saudi Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM revealed the 170km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature.
He described it as an answer to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion.
The city is expected to create 380,000 jobs, adding SAR 180 billion ($48 billion) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
His Royal Highness said: “Throughout history, cities were built to protect their citizens. After the Industrial Revolution, cities prioritized machines, cars, and factories over people. In cities that are viewed as the world’s most advanced, people spend years of their lives commuting. By 2050, commute durations will double. By 2050, one billion people will have to relocate due to rising CO2 emissions and sea levels. 90% of people breathe polluted air. Why should we sacrifice nature for the sake of development? Why should seven million people die every year because of pollution? Why should we lose one million people every year due to traffic accidents? And why should we accept wasting years of our lives commuting?”
“Therefore, we need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one,” His Royal Highness added. “Today, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, I present to you THE LINE. A city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets, and zero carbon emissions.”
The cognitive city will be run through its operating system dubbed Neos, Bradley told ZDNet in an interview. Neos would gather and process data from internet-of-thing (IoT) devices, the residents’ unique IDs, and several other devices across the city, acting as the city’s core.
Through that system, the city would be able to protect residents in several ways, such as alerting emergency services in case of medical emergencies, making it a proactive city.
According to Bradley, Neos would also be able to manage shuttles for travelers to The LINE without them needing to wait or book. The city’s operating system already knows the flight numbers, times of arrival, and gates; it will know which hotel has been booked and for whom; combined with facial recognition. Accordingly, Neos will use the data to ensure that as soon as travelers enter the city a shuttle would meet them.
Addressing privacy concerns, Bradley told ZDNet that each resident will decide how much data he wants to share with the operating system.
According to NEOM’s website, 90% of available data will be harnessed to enhance infrastructure capabilities far beyond the 1% typically utilized in existing smart cities.
Another unique feature of THE LINE is the fact that it is the first urban development designed around people, not roads.
“Walkability will define life on THE LINE – all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, will be within a five-minute walk,” the city’s announcement said at the time.
The city which will be powered by 100% clean energy, would feature ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier. It promises future residents that no journey will be longer than 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced in early April the signing of a partnership with dizmo to launch a smart home platform NEOM.
According to STC, this technology offers an unprecedented level of interoperability across different domains of city life. It will bring a health and wellness extension to the Neom smart home via integration with healthy lifestyle devices such as Fitbit, while also interoperating with the healthcare system for a collaborative relationship with the doctor.
STC said that the partnership is in line with the company’s strategy in digital empowerment and providing innovative digital solutions in NEOM to contribute to building a new model of sustainability for the city.
STC Group recently signed an agreement with NEOM to operate a fifth-generation communications network (5G), in addition to establishing an innovation center there for applications in virtual reality, augmented reality, smart home development, autonomous vehicles, and the interaction between residents and digital infrastructure.
NEOM to host MENA’s largest fish farm
On April 6, NEOM Company, and Tabuk Fish Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build the largest fish farm in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
In a press statement, the company announced that the MoU included developing a fish farm to promote the aquaculture industry in the region, both within artificial lakes and natural waters.
It also aims to establish a solid aquaculture infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, in line with Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the country’s economy and sources of income.
According to the statement, the hatchery will operate with a capacity of 70 million fingerlings, aiming to boost the production of local fish species in the Red Sea. The hatchery would contribute to achieving the kingdom’s goal of producing 600,000 tons of fish products by 2030, placing Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the pioneering countries in sustainable aquaculture.
Aquaculture is currently the world’s fastest-growing food sector and accounts for over 50% of the total global seafood supply. With seafood consumption in the Kingdom projected to grow 7.4% annually, sustainable aquaculture growth is key to meeting this demand and easing pressure on wild fish stocks, which are under stress in the region and worldwide due to overﬁshing.