The Saudi government believes that the creative downtown area would attract tourists and diversify the oil-based economy of the nation.
The Future Is Here
The latest megaproject to emerge from Saudi Arabia demonstrates this. Riyadh, the country’s capital, will soon have the “world’s largest contemporary downtown,” complete with a massive, cube-shaped tower.
New Murabba, the future downtown district, will incorporate various futuristic elements, including a 1,312-foot-tall tower loaded with holographic projections. Construction is expected to be completed by 2030, according to architects and planners.
Wealth funds and investors want to attract visitors through modernisation projects in order to diversify the country’s mainly oil-reliant economy. The New Murabba project is one of several “megaprojects” in Saudi Arabia that aspire to achieve precisely that.
According to VICE, the Saudi government is also interested in developing this new location in order to increase its prospects of hosting the World Expo in 2030. Several futuristic projects are also being developed in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed plans for NEOM, a $500 billion futuristic metropolis in northeastern Saudi Arabia, in 2021. CNN said that the city’s ideas included robot cleaners, flying taxis, and artificial moons.
And only last year, he revealed another another project: a 105-mile-long “linear city” named The Line.
As a result, the launch of Saudi Arabia’s futuristic New Murabba comes as no surprise from a country anxious to become the next tourism attraction.
The Mukaab, a cube-shaped skyscraper 1,312 feet (400 metres) high, 1,312 feet long, and 1,312 feet broad — apparently large enough to house 20 Empire State Buildings — is the project’s crowning achievement.
In addition to 104,000 residential units and 9,000 hotel rooms, the Mukaab will have retail, commercial, and cultural facilities.
Architects hope to build a “immersive experience” within the Mukaab, complete with holograms and other technologies that transport spectators to digital realms such as Mars, the deep ocean, and fabled jungles. The huge cube’s façade will have geometric designs to pay tribute to Islamic aesthetic history and the royal family.
Despite the project’s emphasis on entertainment, it serves other essential goals. The region will be able to house hundreds of thousands of people and will bring 300,000 jobs to the city.
The town will contain “green areas and walking and cycling trails that will enhance the quality of life by supporting healthy, active lifestyles and communal activities,” according to comments from the New Murabba Development Corporation.
#NewMurabba will add 19 square kilometers to Riyadh’s downtown area. Designed around people, it will provide new homes for hundreds of thousands of residents, closer to nature, work and play. https://t.co/5R4DqQdPyS pic.twitter.com/H6IjRQbxVN
— Public Investment Fund (@PIF_en) February 18, 2023
While this remark seems attractive, many people are concerned about the initiative. According to The Byte, the sheer scale of the Mukaab and New Murabba raises doubts about their long-term viability. Furthermore, critics believe that the construction’s tight schedule would almost certainly result in unscrupulous employment practises and human rights breaches.
In addition, there has been a lack of openness over how the Saudi government and investors intend to fund the project. According to CNN, the Public Investment Fund declined to say where the money was coming from, simply saying that “additional information will be announced in due course.”
“The financing for all of this aren’t completely safe. “They sought to obtain a lot of foreign direct investments to make this dream a reality,” said Andreas Krieg, a research fellow at King’s College London’s Institute of Middle Eastern Studies.
For the time being, the globe may amuse itself with mockups of future sustainable cities in the hopes that they will one day become a reality.