A vertical city in the desert stretching over 100 miles and housing approximately nine million people sounds like the plot of a slightly dystopian sci-fi thriller, or perhaps something that would be majestically rising up out of the desert in one of the Dune sequels. But this vision could actually be a reality in the not-so-distant future, according to a recent urban project unveiled by Saudi Arabia last month. Dubbed “The Line,” the ambitious plan aims to create a one-building city in northwest Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea.

View of Saudi Arabia's towering

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Towering 1,640 feet above sea level, the city will be 656 feet across and occupy a total of about 13 square miles, according to a recent article by CNN.

View from inside Saudi Arabia's futuristic vertical city, the Line.

Itself part of the Neom project (a larger mega-development backed by billions from the Saudi government that began in 2019), the Line is just the latest in a series of developments, architectural projects, and cultural reforms collectively referred to as “Vision 2030,” a plan aimed at making Saudi Arabia a vacation hotspot on par with its neighbors Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Critics have repeatedly cited the country’s human rights record as a somewhat disturbing backdrop to this rebrand.

Sprawling green spaces emerge along the length of the Line vertical city.

Transparent bridges connect residences in the Line to verdant green spaces.

Boats pass through the futuristic structures comprising the Line vertical city via a central waterway built through the middle.

The crown jewel of Vision 2030 was the earlier announcement of the Red Sea Project. Itself a plan to dramatically transform the desert into a luxe island and mountain resort with its own airport, the development would undoubtedly become a bastion for billionaires, and a huge boon for the Saudi economy.

At night, the entire inside of the Line emits a futuristic purple glow.

Futuristic red lighting illuminates the Line at night.

But The Line may even outshine this mega development. A high-tech paradise featuring its own high-speed rail, the vertical city will also be largely sustainable. “Powered by green energy and run with the aid of artificial intelligence…robot maids, flying taxis, and a giant artificial moon” are just some of the proposed features mentioned in the press release.

Yachts docked on the water inside the Line, with futurstic dwellings, lights, and lots of greenery all around.

Boats dock near a towering futuristic station just outside the Line vertical city.

Ambitious? Yes. Dystopian? A little. Imminent? Probably, though undoubtedly years into the next decade. As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently said in a press release, “[The Line] designs…will challenge the traditional, flat horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhance human livability.”

View of Saudi Arabia's futuristic

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia is carving out a path for itself to be a world leader in both sustainable development and global tourism with this towering techno dream that even George Jetson would approve of.