UK architecture and engineering studio Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been appointed as a delivery partner organization for Saudi Arabia’s ambitious linear-city project the Line.
Once completed, the Line will be 170 kilometres long and 200 metres wide. Designed to run on 100 per cent clean energy, the city will eventually accommodate nine million residents. According to its developers, the Line’s footprint will be a mere 34 square kilometres – significantly less than existing cities with similar populations. Some 95 per cent of the surrounding region will be protected for conservation.
‘With a vision for engineering a sustainable society, SNC-Lavalin is committed to helping governments and the private sector meet their net-zero targets by providing our global expertise and world-class sustainability solutions,’ said Ian L Edwards, president and CEO of SNC-Lavalin. ‘The Line is a central component of NEOM, which itself is one of the largest projects under Saudi Vision 2030. The linear, cognitive city will play a significant role in helping NEOM accelerate the kingdom’s economic diversification agenda by redefining the urban-living experience, boosting tourism and creating job opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabia.’
Atkins has been awarded a five-year contract under a framework agreement for consultancy services on the Line. In collaboration with NEOM and other delivery partner organisations, Atkins will provide project- and construction-management consultancy services for the design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of the project, together with the management of the critical interfaces that the linear city shares with adjacent NEOM projects and logistics. The project has adopted a highly collaborative delivery model in response to its scale, complexity, supply chain and requirements for innovation.
‘The Line is a truly ground-breaking, world-first project and we are proud to have the opportunity to bring our global engineering, digital and net-zero expertise to help create a lasting legacy for the kingdom and its people,’ said Philip Hoare, SNC-Lavalin’s president, engineering services, Canada, UK and Europe, Middle East and India. ‘As a delivery partner organisation, we will work closely with NEOM and our partners to seamlessly connect people, data and technology to drive innovation, value, efficiency and certainty on the project. Our combined intent is to radically transform the way major infrastructure projects are delivered and the Line, with its vision and complexity, provides a great opportunity to demonstrate what our industry can achieve.’
According to its developers, the Line offers a new approach to urban design, in which city functions are layered vertically. Under the proposed designs, residents will be able to move seamlessly in three dimensions to easily fulfil their daily needs – a concept referred to as Zero Gravity Urbanism. The development’s infrastructure will be embedded with sustainable smart technology that contains essential utilities and transportation services, generating car-free communities and public realms.
‘With more than 50 years’ presence in the Middle East, Atkins has played a key role in supporting the region’s transformation by delivering some of its most iconic and complex projects,’ said Campbell Gray, Atkins’ CEO, Middle East and Africa. ‘Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most dynamic growth markets and we are committed to supporting the country’s ambitions through our global engineering expertise, our in-depth local knowledge, and our investment in the kingdom’s future talent. As a delivery partner organisation, we will work closely with NEOM to drive value and efficiency by adopting innovative technologies and world-class sustainability standards.’