An octagonal city that will float in the Red Sea is the new, ambitious plan of Saudi Arabia.
The city, to be named Oxagon, will be on the edge of Neom, a brand-new area under construction. The central element of Neom will be a smart city of the same name.
The Oxagon, as Saudi Arabia’s new venture is called, is described as “an integrated cognitive city” that will use robots and artificial intelligence and act as an industrial logistics hub. Officials in Riyadh say it will be a city with zero carbon footprint, powered entirely by renewable energy, but have not yet revealed how much it will cost or how the world’s largest floating structure will be built.
The floating city of Oxagon has been described by the Saudi authorities as “the seat of the world’s first fully automated port and integrated logistics hub.
The city will be designed to use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, forecasting and robotics.
NEOM the central element
NEOM, Bin Salman’s $500 billion project, envisions the creation of a nearly 26,000-square-kilometer city-state in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province, near its borders with Jordan and Egypt. The name NEOM comes from the Greek word “young” and the Arabic mustaqbal, which means “future” and is part of the vision of turning the country into a technology hub like Silicon Valley, while it will integrate cities, research centers, education departments and tourist attractions. The plans that have been presented show that it will be 33 times bigger than New York with a “smart” city in its center, which will also be called Neom.
Companies and new technologies will appear
Foreign companies, giants of modern technology, have signed agreements, such as Oracle Corp., Air Products and Huawei Digital Power.
Neom announced plans to build a 170-kilometer (105-mile) car-free linear city called “The Line” as its focus, but the complexity of the project means it could take years to complete.
The industrial city will be one of many zones planned in other areas of Neom and the next to be announced after The Line.
It will be located in the southwest corner of the Neom area and will include a $5 billion green hydrogen plant, a joint venture between Acwa Power, Air Products and Neom, under construction.
Plans for NEOM include flying taxis, a robotic dinosaur amusement park and the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.
The pristine landscape of the area will be transformed by machines that will bombard the clouds to cause artificial rain, the largest coral garden in the world, glowing sand in the dark and a giant artificial moon that will light up every night. The 16-area metropolis, touted as the world’s largest zero-carbon metropolitan area, will be powered by wind farms, solar power and state-of-the-art technology that converts water into oxygen and hydrogen for fuel.
But the contractors of this ambitious project in Saudi Arabia initially faced some obstacles, as engineers tried to design a city based on technologies, some of which do not yet exist. The projects were initially reported to begin in the first quarter of 2021. Now that they have finally begun, the next step is to declare the city-state a “free zone” with different laws from the rest of Saudi Arabia – something Al Nasr says could be achieved from the first months.
The smart city is being hailed as the flagship of the country’s Vision 2030 program but insiders suggest that potential visitors might not even have to wait that long.
According to Mohammed bin Salman (Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors):
“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. This new city, built around innovative new industries, has started its development and we look forward to the city’s rapid expansion.”
The Saudi government, Neom hopes to have its first residents in place in 2024.