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Insights Building NEOM, the world’s first cognitive and smart city

The Middle East is one of the most fast-paced and competitive areas of the world, and in the last decade, countries in the region have been rapidly adopting innovative technologies to improve their standard of life. One of the more remarkable developments in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project; the construction of the world’s first cognitive, smart city.

A smart city is one that puts data and digital technology to work to make better decisions and improve the quality of life. For example, with a smart city, it is possible to use technology to improve traffic safety, optimised emergency responses, dynamic mobility options, air quality monitoring and energy-use optimisation, amongst other benefits. Neom is set to revolutionise city life as we know it and here, we delve into why NEOM is set to be one of the most innovative cities in the world.

city at night lit up

Fully automated city

NEOM will achieve its ambitious goals of becoming one of the leading areas in the world–by adopting future technologies to enhance security, improve the efficiency of services and enhance the quality of life for residents. All services and processes in NEOM will be 100% fully automated and be implemented in all activities such as government and legal procedures, investment services, transportation and more.

NEOM is seeking to incorporate robotics and AI seamlessly into every aspect of their residents’ lives in an attempt to meet the growing challenges of an overreliance on oil resources. What happens in Neom will provide insight into how AI will impact the world in the coming years.

A car-free city

The Line, one of the major projects within NEOM, is being developed to be a green, AI-rich cognitive city. Inspired by cutting technology and innovative science, NEOM is designed with the goal of enhancing the lives of its one million residents by focusing on health and wellbeing. The 170-kilometre-long city will not only be a zero-carbon emissions zone, but also set the bar for modern city living at the same time.

In a ground-breaking move, the city will be a car-free zone and it will be designed to incorporate environmentally friendly, pedestrianised areas. The line will be designed so that residents will have easy access to all of their daily necessities and amenities. All supermarkets, healthcare facilities, leisure centres and more will be within walking distance for all residents. The move to make The Line a car-free zone will contribute to a substantial reduction in global greenhouse emissions and set an example for cities all around the world.

Powered by renewable energy

Plans are in place to ensure that NEOM will be powered entirely by renewable energy. The city will preserve 95% of the natural environment, enhancing the biodiversity of the area, and pave the way in water production and storage thanks to innovative technological advances.

NEOM will build a self-contained, low-cost grid of renewable energy, integrated into the architecture of the city, providing sustainable, zero-emission energy. With the help of AI, residents will also be able to return excess energy to the grid, ensuring a sustainable cycle of resource use.

At AtkinsRéalis , sustainability is woven into the fabric of our business. With every decision we make and every process we use, preserving the planet is our underlying goal. As a global business, our expertise is extensive, and our impact is wide-reaching. Our goals are aligned with the NEOM project’s aims and we’ve set out a Net Zero Carbon 2030 route with immediate actions to combat climate change, in all the regions we work in.

Atkins is ready for a better future

NEOM will be developed with five core principles in mind: sustainability, community, nature, technology, and livability. These pillars display Saudi Arabia’s dedication to becoming more contemporary, inclusive, and progressive, which will open more doors for the country and its citizens. These principles are similar to our own at Atkins, and as one of the world’s most reputable and respected design and engineering solutions providers, we aim to work side by side with NEOM to build this smart, sustainable development.

NEOM will offer a range of fantastic opportunities for innovative and forward-thinking construction professionals to showcase their skills and develop their careers. We plan to utilise our extensive design and engineering services, which include architecture, urban design, landscape design, civil engineering and more to contribute to the NEOM movement.

Accelerate your career working on NEOM

If you’re an innovative architect, designer, or engineer, now is your opportunity to work on one of the most challenging and exciting projects in modern times. Join AtkinsRéalis and contribute to the advancement of tomorrow; and in doing so achieve your own personal and professional goals.

NEOM envisions being a Net Carbon Zero region by 2030. Therefore, this is not just about traditional engineering, but about combining the greatest minds with technology to provide digital solutions for a better planet. Come join us and work with like-minded people with a growth mindset. Browse our available architect roles today or keep up to date on our NEOM hub.