Credit By: Business
The massive “The Line” project began its excavation operations in October to a range of responses from around the world. Others criticize it as little more than a huge marketing stunt, while some see it as a revolutionary model for sustainable urban growth. Researchers from the Complexity Science Hub have clarified why “The Line” might not be the optimal urban model for the future.
Cityscapes Redefined: The Potential of The Line’s Mirage
“The Line” is a revolutionary idea that aims to convert a desert terrain into an avant-garde city, according to Rafael Prieto-Curiel, an urban researcher at the Complexity Science Hub. The design calls for two imposing rows of buildings that would be twice as tall as anything that already exists in Europe, Africa, or Latin America, with a combined size of 170 kilometers, 200 meters, and 500 meters. This straight line of space will go all the way to the eastern shore of the Red Sea.
Density Dilemma: A Difficult Population Problem
“The Line” is expected to have a stunning nine million residents, outnumbering every other metropolis in Saudi Arabia. But this corresponds to an astounding 265,000 people per square kilometer, four times more than Manila’s core districts, which are currently the densest metropolitan areas on Earth and ten times higher than Manhattan. It still needs to be determined whether drawing in such a sizable population is feasible in a country of that size, says Prieto-Curiel.
Identifying Mobility Problems: The Drawbacks of The Line City
The motion dynamics of “The Line” have drawn criticism. Contrasting it with the circular design of the majority of cities around the world, Prieto-Curiel claims that a linear metropolis represents the least efficient design scenario. This observation is based on the average distance between two randomly chosen individuals within “The Line” being 57 kilometers, as opposed to just 33 kilometers in the much larger Johannesburg. This physical obstacle makes active mobility difficult and forces a reliance on public transportation.
Railroaded Ambitions: An Inefficient Transit System
A high-speed rail network, intended to serve as the foundation of public transportation, is at the centre of “The Line’s” transportation design. However, as noted by Dániel Kondor, a researcher at the Complexity Science Hub, 86 stations must be scattered along the linear stretch for every person to live close to a station. The capacity for trains to go between stations at high speeds is eventually hampered by the large station count, which naturally causes lengthy stopping periods. As a result, it is anticipated that “The Line” will have an average commute time of an hour, with at least 47% of the population experiencing even longer commutes. Despite considering fast lines, mandatory transfers limit improvements and lengthen journey times compared to major cities like Seoul.
Beyond the Linear Illusion: The Real Soul of a City
According to research, adequate transportation is crucial to urban prosperity since individuals desire to reduce their commute time. The idea of hyper-localized dwelling arrangements does not necessarily negate the requirement for citywide mobility choices. According to Kondor, cities are more than just a collection of separate communities; their appeal comes from a broader range of chances that extend beyond immediate surroundings. These include things like activities and job searches. Consequently, complete citywide transportation must be considered.
Reinterpreting “The Line’s” Urban Fabric as The Circle
The average distance between any two people would decrease to 2.9 kilometres if “The Line” were changed into “The Circle” with a radius of 3.3 kilometres. In this arrangement, 24% of the population may go to one another on foot, promoting active transportation such as cycling and walking while eliminating the need for a high-speed rail system. Furthermore, this circular design could support efficient communication at lower densities, reducing the need for tall buildings.
Glimmers of Understanding Among the Doubts
Despite its controversial elements, “The Line” encourages debates about urban design, a meaningful conversation as cities, particularly in Africa, continue to grow. Historical towns developed naturally, whereas their planned counterparts frequently exceeded expectations. This highlights the significance of public involvement in human-scale urban design. Additionally, the project strongly emphasizes sustainability in various ways, including limited use of automobiles for short distances and carbon-neutral energy production. However, the massive skyscrapers’ environmental construction cost continues to be overlooked.
Balance between Innovation and Pragmatism: A Cautionary Verdict
According to Prieto-Curiel, “The Line” might be a seductive display of modern architectural and urban planning technologies, but it also requires a thorough comprehension of its effects. Whether driven by compelling social media content or branding, assessing its impact is still crucial. “The Line” urges a balanced approach to innovation and practicality as talks continue, serving as both a tempting glimpse of urban living in the future and a warning.