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Would Saudi Arabia’s new city of Neom be more admired on Earth if it could be seen from Proxima Centauri?

The Line in the Sand

No doubt you have read about the new city of Neom being built by Saudi Arabia as its new-world city. It will be 170 kilometers long and incorporate skyscrapers and architectural monuments. Neom’s vision is the flowering of the desert via an explosion of people. This is somewhere we will all want to visit. Does the vision resonate?

Neom is planned to become a city stretching 170 kilometers. It’s also being called The Line. Is the Line the transformative vision the Saudis are seeking to create?

170 kilometers sounds like a lot, and it is if you think about it on normal human scales. But is that what the creators really want?

The Future of Cosmic Citizenship

For my part I would be impressed if they told me the Line was going to be not kilometers in length and scale, but, say, 40 light years. That it was going to stretch far away to the relatively newly discovered exoplanet of Gliese 12b. That the ambition was for Neom to link up with the sister city of the putative capital city of Gliese 12b. That along that line, Neom would connect with other sister cities en route.

In my book, Neom would be designing cities for the cosmos that are needed to be the chosen urban habitats for countless different living environments. Creating new types of urban locales, digital not just analog. “Cities” for gaseous, rocky, above ground and subterranean oceans, with unimaginable scales, terrains and conditions, including those with also-unimaginable life-forms.

That would get my attention.

Skyscrapers So 19th Century

Our Western ideas about urban planning are already outdated. Shouldn’t the creators of Neom be striving for transformative and disruptive ideas for how intelligent beings create and live their lives in other environments, worlds and social and spiritual environments?

Are there ways that these can be reconceptualized through the lens of Arabic, Islamic cultures and ideas to cross-fertilize with cosmic cultures based on these achievements such as in the flowering of Islamic cultures and ideas in the 8th century?

I think we’ve got to look beneath the sand-rippled surface of the vision. The Saudis want to be not merely noticed but admired and even envied. They want to show that, following on the ancient triumphs of Arab and Islamic scientific and cultural achievements, they can do it again, and it's not about being lucky by being situated where all that oil is.

Neom at Light-Speed

Couldn’t the Saudis integrate their vision for the Line with space explorations so that it prepares humans for a mission to Proxima Centauri, a recent idea for the next mega-Moonshot? You send one or many swarms of pico-size craft to this star, propelled by ultra-powerful lasers.

Along the way you discover other cities. The emerging recognition of cosmic cultures is based on Neom-like notions.

That takes about a century, providing things work. So, the vision spans timescales which have meaning for other cosmic cultures.

Could Neom leverage the Chinese Belt and Road initiative and actually be The Line of cities stretching from Saudi Arabia to the stars. Could it be seen as the new vision for inter-galactic urbanization?

Definitely a win for the Saudis. Even if they don’t actually get there, no one will actually know that.

And just to prove it they could bury a time-capsule or a Golden Record somewhere in Neom just to show to the generations that follow that they actually did do something on an epic scale, the Saudi contribution to cosmic culture and spirituality.

Those guys on Gliese 12b would sure be impressed at the cosmic spectacle of Neom?

The hotel at the end of the universe, right?




Stars in our eyes.

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