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  1. Construction on NEOM has been ongoing through the pandemic. Looks like it could be changing from a big tourist investment to a more domestic market though. Does anyone have any images or recent news from the site?

    With a budget deficit expected to reach nearly 13% of output this year—above International Monetary Fund benchmarks for emerging-market economies—Saudi Arabia’s finances are coming under strain. The authorities have already tripled the value-added tax rate to replenish government coffers and cut cash handouts meant to cushion a rising cost of living.

    With nearly $450 billion in foreign monetary reserves and the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to run out of money soon. The kingdom’s roughly $300 billion sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund—headed by Prince Mohammed—finances the biggest projects; it recently got a $40 billion injection from the central bank.
    A representative said that PIF’s financial commitment to the projects remains unchanged and that their timelines won’t be significantly affected by current economic conditions. Since the pandemic began, PIF has awarded a series of contracts, most recently to U.S. project management firm, Bechtel, to develop infrastructure at Neom, which currently has just a few royal palaces and workers’ camps.
    The projects may eventually be shifted to attract more domestic investment and consumption. That has already started happening in at least one of the developments, Neom, as senior Western executives were replaced by Saudis. On Sunday, Neom announced an agreement with the Saudi energy ministry to cooperate on renewable energy, electricity production and artificial intelligence.

    The projects are so big that PIF calls them gigaprojects. Neom, at an estimated cost of $500 billion and featuring experimental technologies such as a solar dome for water desalination, is to be 33 times larger than New York City in area. The Red Sea resort, which aims to build Maldives-style hotels hovering above the water, will be the size of Belgium. And a sports and entertainment city called Qiddiya, which will have a Six Flags theme park with the world’s fastest roller coaster, is expected to be 2½ times as big as Disney World.

  2. Does any publicly available masterplan exist for NEOM. All I see is various fantasmic artwork and none of it has any relation or link to the other.

  3. Citizens of Saudi Arabia who are deemed eligible for compensation in the coastal area of the north-west of the kingdom are reportedly to be granted plots of land for free in the future megacity of NEOM.

    According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency today, Prince Fahd Bin Sultan – the governor of Tabuk where the futuristic city is being built – laid out the first part of an economic package which aims to improve the living standards of those in the area.
    With the Saudi government now seeking to grant the original residents free plots of land in the new city as compensation, they will apparently be joining the one million people from around the world that the Gulf kingdom hopes to attract.

  4. Great article in The Times (UK):

    There isn’t much about the view along the Red Sea’s northeast coastline that gives you a clue to its promised future. Flat, burnt-orange sands loll gently to the deep blue coastline of this remote patch of Saudi Arabia.
    Full article:

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    The creator of the previous video, Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti, was killed in mid April and the controversy surrounding the changes to this area keeps growing.

    The death of Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti on 13 April highlighted the tension between the tribe and the kingdom’s development plans. A resident of the town of Khuraibat, he had become the face of the tribes’ criticism of their forced eviction, voicing complaints in videos posted to social media, and appearing in others’ videos. One piece of footage showed him confronting a Saudi official who visited the town to speak with residents.
    Construction is ploughing ahead despite the challenges of the pandemic and the historic drop in the price of oil, Saudi’s primary export. The project is part of the crown prince’s flagship Vision 2030 project, intended to diversify the economy away from oil, which has sustained the kingdom since the early 20th century. Yet the funds required to see Neom realised will inevitably require oil wealth.
    Yet part of the site is the home of the Huwaitat tribe, who have spanned Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Sinai peninsula for generations, tracing their lineage back before the founding of the Saudi state. At least 20,000 members of the tribe now face eviction due to the project, with no information about where they will live in the future.

    “For the Huwaitat tribe, Neom is being built on our blood, on our bones,” says Alia Hayel Aboutiyah al-Huwaiti, an outspoken activist and member of the tribe living in London. “It’s definitely not for the people already living there! It’s for tourists, people with money. But not for the original people living there.”
    Concept Art

    Example of the planned air taxi's on display.


  6. Neom will have robot workers, flying cars, beaches with glow-in-the-dark sand and an artificial moon.
    Saudi Arabian officials have called it “the world’s most ambitious project” and “an entire new land, purpose-built for a new way of living”.
    Some of the proposed highlights at Neom include “cloud seeding”, whereby technology is used to make artificial clouds to make it rain and create a more favourable climate; an amusement park populated by robot dinosaurs; flying taxis; a giant fake moon; and glow-in-the-dark sand along the Red Sea coastline.
    Set to be 33 times the size of New York City when complete, Neom is a planned 16-borough city on the Red City coast in Saudi Arabia’s north-western province of Tabuk. The US$500 billion is coming from the country’s Public Investment Fund, while the government hopes to attract millions more in foreign investment.
    The Neom project was announced in 2017, with Bin Salman saying he wanted Neom to attract the “world’s greatest minds and best talents”. The Wall Street Journal reported on planning documents in which Bin Salman “envisions Neom the largest city globally by GDP”.
    Cameras, drones and facial recognition will be everywhere, and a genetic modification project has been proposed – Japanese tech giant Softbank has cited plans to create “a new way of life from birth to death reaching genetic mutations to increase human strength and IQ”.

  7. NEOM artwork (no joke):

  8. Delayed, as expected.

    The plummeting oil prices and the economic crunch due to coronavirus have delayed the construction of Saudi Arabia's futuristic megacity 'Neom' project. The futuristic tech-hub was set to be completed in 2025 and accommodate one million people, costing an estimated $500billion (£413billion).

    This megacity project is planned to be built-in Moroccan-style opulent buildings and palaces which will include helipads, a marina, a golf course and will be lit by a giant artificial moon. So far only a few palaces and helipads are reported to have been built in Neom.

  9. News from today:

    A futuristic city planned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast as a showpiece of his reform plans is in crisis after police shot dead one of the project’s leading critics.

    Abdul-Rahim al-Huwaiti had earlier posted videos online saying that he was one of many people refusing to leave their properties to make way for the $US500bn ($788bn) Neom scheme, and that he fully expected to die as a result.
    Neom has been lampooned abroad as a fantasy. The prince wants it to be home to virtual reality industries and to feature flying cars, robot maids, a joint tourist development with neighbouring Jordan and Egypt, and facial recognition technology that will monitor everyone wherever they go.

    A consultancy report leaked to The Wall Street Journal last year discussed the fate of the 20,000 people living in the 16,000sq km of desert and shoreline that will be affected. It said those able to develop “Neom-appropriate skills” should stay, but the rest could be moved on.

    On Wednesday the International Monetary Fund issued its latest report querying the Gulf states’ financial underpinnings. “Measured in real terms, oil prices have not been this low since 2001,” it said.

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