Neom: how will it shape the future of sustainable construction?

This May, TRIQS will be looking at the projects we think will make history, as part of Local Community and History Month!

Firstly, we will be going international with the building of the city Neom, in Saudi Arabia. 

But this isn’t just any city: this is set to be an eco-city, that will be “a blueprint for tomorrow in which humanity progresses without compromise to the health of the planet.” This $500bn project is part of the country’s plan to distance itself from oil production, which it is currently known for. 

There’s a lot of big ideas for Neom, such as an all-year round ski village, glow in the dark beaches, levitating trees and even a fake moon. 

In terms of making it more environmentally friendly, this green city is set to be car-free, with all the amenities people need, like shops and schools, being within a 5 minute walk. They are also introducing hyperspeed trains, with no journey longer than 20 minutes. 

Neom promises to be a “the world’s most food self-sufficient city”, but this would mean a shift from the current level of food import that currently stands at 80% in Saudi Arabia. 

Following COP26, the Saudi Green Initiative was announced, announcing a target of reaching net-zero by 2060. However, to limit global warming to 1.5℃, oil production would need to fall 5% between now and 2030.

This is a big pledge considering they also aim to have 50% of energy generated by renewable energy by 2030, when only 0.1% came via this method in 2019.

The project is already underway, with satellite images showing a helipad and a golf course as the first things to have been built. 

But what do all these things mean for UK construction? We can take a lot from their goals, such as aiming for net-zero and making local amenities as easily accessible without the use of cars and other transport.

However, can a project of this scale be truly sustainable, or is it greenwashing? Whatever the outcome, this new city will certainly make history, and we are looking forward to seeing the way it influences the industry in the years to come.