The Inverted World
January 13, 2021 1:23 AM   Subscribe

Mohamed bin Salman (responsible for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, amongst other misdeeds) announced THE LINE in a TED-style keynote video, a new 170km long city in Saudi Arabia built in a single straight line using "invisible technology" enabling zero emissions and "30% better quality products".
posted by adrianhon (68 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Seems to me there were a lot of lines involved in the planning of this.
posted by fullerine at 1:43 AM on January 13 [29 favorites]

Setting aside all the ethical issues posed in the linked article and just evaluating this on its merits:

Gut feeling says this is a terrible idea for urban design. Each individual module might be walkable, but if you have to get from one to another you have to take transit. There's a reason cities are currently approximately-circular masses: it's the shape that naturally minimizes expected travel times.

If you're doing modules like this, a better layout would be something like a 5 by 5 grid of modules with a "downtown" in the center. And then, I suppose you just have a city!
posted by LSK at 2:45 AM on January 13 [32 favorites]

I don't have the (personal) bandwidth to watch the videos, so: can anybody tell me why they're laying it out in a long line?
posted by amtho at 2:49 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Oh hello it’s the Radburn concept done by tyrants! Eliminate vehicles, subvert the typical urban pattern, create ideal suburban clonetowns. This kind of category error of what planning is gets covered in first year in any urban planning course, though to be fair, the Saudi government has better credibility in its anti-alcohol, anti-urban, pro-extraction policy than most. Also, grifting, an eternal quality of erstwhile urban planners who like drawing shapes in crayon...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:56 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]

I have no truck with Washington-Post-reporter-chopper-uppers, nor allowing women to drive as a tourism-promoting gimmick (okay that sounds bad... obviously I mean that it's not allowing women to even drive in the first place I object to and the fake keffiyeh-tip^ to allowing it for purely cynical practical purposes dressed up as a civil rights reform), and I freely admit that massive public works projects are the hallmark of fascism, totalitarianism more generally, and disgusting aristocratic excess: see Hoover Dam, Nonsuch Palace, Hitler's ostentatiously absurd Eagle's Nest early mansion-bunker-headquarters (up at the top of a mountain... where, you know, it's extremely difficult to transport building materials, and at the altitude where all the bombers are) and the Führer cities, the Soviet Union's People's Whatever Who Cares and the pageantry of Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics.

But I have a soft spot in my heart for humans carrying out massive projects bridging straits like the Bab-el-Mandeb, so my ears did perk up a few years ago when that was part of the announcement of NEOM (umbrella project for The Line mentioned in FPP article, previously) because of a claim it would somehow include that I ran into somewhere.

I also like the idea of massive bridge-building projects because the CG ruins of giant bridges look cool in post-apocalyptic movies and video games.

Ridiculous breathless official NEOM FAQ, which somehow manages to fail to explain what the name “NEOM” means; according to Wikipedia despite the allcaps styling it's not an acronym or initialism but means “new future”:
The name ‘Neom’ was constructed from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix νέο Neo- meaning ‘new’. The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Arabic: مستقبل‎, romanized: Mustaqbal, Hejazi pronunciation: [mʊsˈtagbal], the Arabic word for ‘future.’
Let's flood countless numbers of the world's most ancient archaeological sites and force even more countless families from their homes, just so that we can check an item off of Mao's list and say we have the biggest dam in the world! Really amazing and emotional documentary if you get a chance, Up the Yangtze (2007) about a family with illiterate parents fleeing the rising waters from the Three Gorges Dam on foot with all of their worldly possessions on their backs, arriving in government housing, yes, but now unable to cultivate their own food in a garden and completely, abjectly dependent on the state-patriarch. Although somehow racist American, Canadian, and European white people still manage to walk into frame and chew on the scenery.
posted by XMLicious at 3:02 AM on January 13 [7 favorites]

"It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes"

Unless you need to go from one end to the other end 170km away.

Still though, I'm all for it.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:05 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

You know, I watched the whole thing, but all I heard was:

"Business is changing; Changing at the speed of information. Whoever adapts first wins - in order to compete we Innovate; in order to Innovate we redefine; and how do we redefine? With a New Definition!

posted by wakannai at 3:27 AM on January 13 [24 favorites]

NEOM is an anagram of OMEN.

I guess that could be good or bad.
posted by chavenet at 3:41 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]

Another previous FPP related to some of my comments above:
Driving While Female: Saudi women risk imprisonment to protest the ban
posted by XMLicious at 4:26 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Wow they seem to have thought about everything! Except that maybe building a city like this in the desert adds on the additional challenge of water.

That and most utopian urban plans go up in smoke once some necessary service breaks down... I mean it is a straight line for failure... let's think about either the redundancies necessary to ensure proper services when something breaks either mean nigh double cost for maintenance or massive swaths of people affected by the outage...

This is like that whole push by Americans to live in malls as Americans stopped shopping in malls... interesting thought but a not sustainable idea of a sustainable city.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:53 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

I appreciate the post title.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:57 AM on January 13 [6 favorites]

could organize it with 2km of services per year of age: maternity hospitals in Sector 1, K12 Sectors 5-17, etc etc until Sector 85 with the cemeteries.

My town had the original settlement start at the new railroad station that dropped in the 1870s, coalesce around that for 40 years, then as personal automobiles became prevalent grow like mold northwards along the main drag.

but every mile northward the city pushed out lateral arterials to facilitate cross-town traffic -- if & when we get smart cars that can do Minority Report-style traffic merging at intersections this grid system would be pretty great.

But until then we have ~500,000 people living in the same footprint as Tokyo, LOL/sigh.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 5:12 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

I laughed out loud when I noticed that the name of the city in Arabic is just a transliteration of the English phrase “the line”
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:18 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

could organize it with 2km of services per year of age: maternity hospitals in Sector 1, K12 Sectors 5-17, etc etc until Sector 85 with the cemeteries.

This sounds like sound Surviving Mars logic, but you've left out the death-dome for renegades.

I suspect MBS has not made your mistake.
posted by pompomtom at 5:38 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]

Behind the bright Line, there will be an inevitable shadow of work barracks and slums. Very When Gravity Falls. Dickensian cyberpunk seems more likely every day now.
posted by bonehead at 5:44 AM on January 13 [12 favorites]

It's like those crazy artificial reefs of a few years ago; one will get built, a bigger copycat will get planned and half-started before running out of capital, leaving a half-finished ruin for posterity.
posted by bonehead at 5:48 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

It's like those crazy artificial reefs of a few years ago; one will get built, a bigger copycat will get planned

Am curious, do you mean this sort of thing, or is there something I've missed in the artificial-reef area? Not in the field myself but these seemed practical to me.

posted by pompomtom at 5:56 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Those “hidden layers” sure won’t be a great place to hide your underclass and any others deemed undeserving, no sir, definitely not a straight ticket to Morlock town.
posted by Mizu at 6:01 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]

If you're building new cities in Saudi Arabia wouldn't the smart thing to do be put as much underground or enclosed as possible so that it isn't so damn hot during the day? Like what if there was a massive roof over the whole thing with solar panels on top. Blocks the sun from cooking the people and gives you a bit of energy at the same time.

Something like the line makes some kind of sense if you're building the transport infrastructure between two points anyway and want to make more use of it by filling in the middle.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:14 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

pompomtom, I meant these things, known at the Palm Islands. Those are the originals. "The World" is the larger copycat that's collapsed.
posted by bonehead at 6:22 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I’ll only support the organization of The Line if the first class citizens live at one end and the third class citizens and underclass live at the other, and occasionally the underclass begins a rebellion and starts pushing toward the front of the train, I mean city.
posted by ejs at 6:23 AM on January 13 [19 favorites]

Is there a chance the line could bend?
Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
posted by adept256 at 6:23 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

If Arabs want to lead in urban planning for the coming centuries, they should start building casbahs again. With global warming and the energy crisis, the best thing they can do is remind us that it's okay for a street to have a rooftop.
posted by ocschwar at 6:33 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]

The Hoover Dam is an example of "fascism, totalitarianism more generally, and disgusting aristocratic excess", XMLicious ?
posted by doctornemo at 6:37 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

bonehead: Ta for the reply. Yeah, that whole plan was terrifyingly daft.
posted by pompomtom at 6:41 AM on January 13

I'm not an urban planner, but I did visit Walt Disney World on New Year's Eve once. That's the day when the park hits complete capacity (something like 100,000 back in the day) and the fireworks go off at midnight. Then the park closes.

Trying to simultaneously fit 100,000 people on the monorail out of town is not a good experience. The little trams and boats are there for excess load but they aren't much help either in this situation.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:49 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Like what if there was a massive roof over the whole thing with solar panels on top.
Pretty much Masdar City.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:52 AM on January 13

Just wait until somebody misreads the plans and accidentally builds it vertically.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:55 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]

So, Fargo North Dakota has a problem: it was built on the border with Minnesota, on the river at the time when riverboat traffic was big; within the next twenty-thirty years, a north-south railroad line (parallel to the river) was built about 8 miles away, with its corresponding town-every-few-miles-to-refill-the-steam-engines towns.

Over the years, all of those towns have grown, sandwitching Fargo in the strip of land between the river and the railroad towns, and it has developed some of the problems described above; utility planning, building police and fire stations for optimal response times, garbage removal plans, etc., are all bigger issues when your town is long and narrow. If you put a fire station at one spot on the line, and draw a 'be there in 10 minutes' circle around it, not everything in that circle is the town it's helping. You need more frequent smaller circles, which may increase response times but consumes more resources for something you wouldn't normally need with a more efficient layout. Your water towers too , there's a limit to the distance they reach and if you're not optimally using that pressure it's wasted and you build more water towers.

Sure, all of this is throw-money-at-it problems, which is clearly not something Saudi Arabia has a problem doing.

See also: France's "Seigneurial" layout, which for many Americans with our "ORDERLY SQUARES WITH LOGICAL NUMBERS" way of dividing up land, was France's organized-along-rivers-or-other-long-lines which is still visible in satellite photos of formerly-French US and Canada regions. Not saying this is better or worse, just pointing out a parallel that has been around a long time.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:09 AM on January 13 [7 favorites]

A city planned in a straight line ensures that any protest can be suppressed quickly, with no risk of unrest spreading.
posted by scruss at 7:09 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]

I think we all need to draw a line in the sand over this, quite frankly.
posted by aeshnid at 7:27 AM on January 13 [9 favorites]

What’s the point of an underground train when your city is a line? I mean, I get that oil money has to be spent, but, besides that?
posted by romanb at 7:29 AM on January 13

I'm guessing the impending death of Big Oil has driven the Saudi leadership entirely insane, because this sort of thing is not a good sign at all. It's one thing if it's a huckster trying to sell a scam; you can tell where the impetus is coming from (dude wants to skim money from wealthy rubes). When it's your government, um, things get worse pretty rapidly.
posted by aramaic at 7:40 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]

Terrible napkin and googling math, but lets half-ass squeezing New York into a 170km long strip, what does that look like?

NYC has ~1 million structures, and an average building is 25ft wide, lets assume a 10ft alley between each building, and lets flip to meters and call that 10 meters to make things easy.

On a single line, edge to edge that's 10 million km. So, we're a *bit* long, but we can stack sixty buildings out 'wide' along the strip to get it down to 170km, and voila-- NYC is now... harder to walk around.

Like if you had crazy money-- why not just build tall? Buy a neighborhood of 6000 homes, knock 'em all down-- and build a 50 floor, 120 per floor 'neighborhood' and turn the remainder of the unused land (5880 residences worth of space) into parkland.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:48 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Gut feeling says this is a terrible idea for urban design.

that's exactly what I was thinking! not super knowledgeable about this stuff but don't you want things arranged around a hub in circles or clusters of circles or something? for accessibility? this sounds like the opposite of that
posted by taquito sunrise at 7:49 AM on January 13

It's Snowpiercer but it doesn't move.
posted by SPrintF at 7:49 AM on January 13 [14 favorites]

It's a common trope among authoritarians that "if only we could put the right man* in charge, we could get rid of all of these politics and just get stuff done." So it's useful to have these sorts of mindnumbingly massive autocratic idiocies periodically as an easy counterexample.

* I'd say "person", but c'mon.
posted by suetanvil at 7:50 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]

The Line and The Inverted World sound like the titles of Stephen King short stories.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:42 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

I seem to recall an idea something like this in Ecotopia, only it was more like a "string of beads" thing; each stop was a semi-autonomous small city of about the same size with the rail system connecting them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:56 AM on January 13

I chose the title based on Christopher Priest's excellent sci-fi novel featuring a city traveling across a world on railway tracks. The less said about the story, the better!
posted by adrianhon at 8:57 AM on January 13 [10 favorites]

There's a lot of things totally bonkers and wrongheaded about this, but near the top of the list is the complete disregard for local terrain, geography or watersheds for no sound logical reason whatsoever.

Because we've tried this kind of urban planning so many times, if with grid layout cities. This is how you get roads laid out straight up the side of a cliff or mountain in San Francisco because it was, as I am told and recall, the street plans and land plats were designed by someone in DC who didn't really pay attention to the local topography and terrain or was missing that data.

This is the same kind of thinking that brought us the urban and suburban nightmare of US grid cities like Phoenix that totally fail to work with or acknowledge the local terrain, which is why all the North-South and East-West streets often manage to line right up with the direction of natural sunlight making it very difficult to see when you drive east or west when the sun is rising or setting.

The same kind of thinking that ends up with neighborhoods being regularly flooded because city planners didn't even really bother to account for the local watershed and high water marks of 100 year floods.

So this is more of that with less dimensions? Cool. I'm sure that's going to work out just fine.
posted by loquacious at 9:28 AM on January 13 [9 favorites]

Lord save us from the narcissism of innovation and the innovations of narcissists.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:29 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Saturn's Children by Mefi's own Stross also features a city on tracks that never stops moving.

And Heinlein' Rolling Roads were only one half of massive linear cities that stretched across America. The roads themselves, which are more like massive airport carousels, have buildings mounted on them that travel the length of the road.

Linear railroad cities also eventually appear in Leo Frankowski Cross-time Engineer but I wouldn't recommend anyone read that.

What’s the point of an underground train when your city is a line? I mean, I get that oil money has to be spent, but, besides that?

Less disturbing to wildlife, hides the infrastructure that no one wants to live beside. Grade level railroads either bisect your community or are located at the edge doubling trans time. High speed lines underground are resistant to unplanned interactions (people/deer/etc. on tracks). It's easier to design and maintain infrastructure that is climate controlled. EG: no need to deal with the expansion and contraction of steel rails that will experience 100+F swings in temperature. No sand storms underground. If you are boring anyways you can smooth out needed grades. Really if boring wasn't so expensive all rail roads would be electrified and underground.
posted by Mitheral at 9:36 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

Bill Hillier, in Space is the Machine, points out the fact that cities are 'movement economies'.
This is very, very anti-economical.
posted by signal at 9:52 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Is porntipsguzzardo legal in Saudi Arabia?
posted by Riki tiki at 10:18 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

> NEOM is an anagram of OMEN.

It's also the sound one makes when devouring an indigenous culture.
posted by Arson Lupine at 10:48 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

The real-world CHOAM is ARAMCO.
posted by bonehead at 10:59 AM on January 13 [6 favorites]

I chose the title based on Christopher Priest's excellent sci-fi novel

And now I'm imagining a new version of that famous picture of the Saudi King, Trump and the Egyptian President fondling a glowing orb but the orb is now a hyperboloid!
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:11 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Even the part of me that loves idiotic giant projects (and periodically attempts them in Minecraft or Sim games) can't quite commit to following what these awful people are going to build for other (mostly rich, mostly awful) people to live in.

I appreciate the chance to rubberneck at what their weird plans are though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:11 PM on January 13

Mitheral, Frankowski/Stargard's futuristic Poland city model wasn't linear, but whatever you call a number of circles arranged in a hexagon.

Start with Circle #1, about 2-3km across. Put City Hall and the Stadium and a Hospital there, central stuff. Surround it with a clockwise moving sidewalk.
If you want to go from one side of this district to the other, you can walk inward across the diameter, or head outward then step onto the ringwalk and ride it around the circumference.
Now surround #1 with six more such circles, with their moving ringwalks meeting at the tangents. Now make the outer boundary of this 7-circle hexagon a fast rail transport line. Want to go from your place in circle #2 to visit a friend in #5? Go inward and transfer from ringwalk 2 to ringwalk 1 to ringwalk 5; or go outward and take the ringrail the long way around. Need to expand? Add another ring of circles to the outside of the rail line, making it into an internal metro line.

At first glance, this seems like they're doing that, but putting the circles in a row, and replacing the circumferential slidewalks and ringtrains with linear ones?

I say let 'em go for it. Even though I tend to look at grandiose Oil Money 'gotta spend it while it's still worth something' megaprojects and start humming the meerkat song from Lion King: dig a tunnel, dig-dig a tunnel, before the hyenas come!
posted by bartleby at 12:45 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Right at the end Stargard implements his vision of the hexes strung all up and down Poland's major rivers joined by river boats and rail lines. Agree that it's not quite 100% analogous. Watching the video it looks like the NEOM plan is for five circles (1 in centre and 4 surrounding making a square) for each city but I could have interpreted that wrong, the NEOM site is short on details.

Anyways the major theme holds. Series of small towns/cities strung along a transportation corridor with most people not ever needing to venture far from home..
posted by Mitheral at 1:45 PM on January 13

The Hoover Dam is an example of "fascism, totalitarianism more generally, and disgusting aristocratic excess", XMLicious ?

Well, it's named after Herbert Hoover, who initially made his name that he gave the Dam through, amidst the orgy of plunder by Western nations and bloody-conqueror-to-be Japan, mining gold in late 19th century China—from ethnic Han regions, in collaboration with the ethnic Manchu rulers of the Qing Dynasty I think? Contributing to the Boxer Rebellion, which he was trapped in when it occurred. Then after the Rebellion it looks like he promoted the use of white immigrant laborers over Chinese immigrant laborers in his company's Australian mines, which there was some litigation over.

That's what the English Wikipedia article and linked articles say. The Google Translate version of the Simplified Chinese article on him makes some considerably more strident claims, but as I can't read Chinese nearly well enough on my own to verify them from sources so I won't reproduce them here.

He got involved in (US) politics after WWI and initially, unsuccessfully ran for president in 1920, during the period when the Ku Klux Klan could capture Black WWI veterans and murder or torture them to death in public in retaliation for wearing their uniforms off-base, with no retaliation whatsoever from federal authorities, nor indeed state or local authorities who might watch or participate. I'm not seeing any sign that this was of concern to Hoover at all.

The same year, alcohol was outlawed in the United States. Industrial sources of alcohol were poisoned by the government to ensure compliance with that diktat, resulting in the deaths of as many as ten thousand alcoholics during Prohibition—of course there was no great interest in counting them, though. From the linked article,
“Must Uncle Sam guarantee safety first for souses?” asked Nebraska’s Omaha Bee.
cf. the twenty-first century's Rodrigo Duterte, the self-proclaimed Hitler of drug addicts.

(Unrelated to the United States directly, but what was happening about the same time in the context of the Arabian Peninsula was the Sykes–Picot Agreement between the UK, France, Russia, and Italy, published when the Bolsheviks overran Russian Imperial diplomatic caches, a secret treaty in which those powers laid out plans to eliminate the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the War and divide its territory amongst themselves.)

The New Deal, which built the Hoover Dam, despite redirecting immense resources to public welfare and public works projects, was not about to fulfill “forty acres and a mule” which had been on the, ahem, “to-do list” since the preceding century. See also things like Wikipedia's New Deal → Race and gender → African Americans → Segregation; BIPoC Americans may not have always had to walk, as Jews did for a few years before Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, but they definitely rode at the back of the bus on the New Deal too.

So yes, fascist, but not totalitarian; the experience for many BIPoC Americans was very much like living in 20th/21st-century North Korea during some periods—see Steve McQueen's film version of Solomon Northrup's Twelve Years a Slave, for example—but under white supremacy the group who gets a better deal and more latitude and flexibility is much larger than something like the nomenklatura of the Soviet Union (“welcome to the Party elite, comrade, here are your keys to the pornography room”), so not totalitarianism.

We can talk about it more here I guess, but we're already doing Are We the Baddies, US Edition over in the Nazi insurrection megathreads.
posted by XMLicious at 2:14 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]

My feelings are extremely cold to Saudi Arabia in general and to MBS in particular," so, uh, I'm definitely not watching that video. But the emphasis on "pedestrian areas" to enjoy nature seem a little strange to me -- surely one of the big problems of Saudi Arabia's walkability is that the average daily temp is over 100 deg F for half of the year! That will only get more unbearable with global warming. I guess they have night markets?
posted by grandiloquiet at 3:02 PM on January 13

Unless you need to go from one end to the other end 170km away..

I mean, you essentially have a 170km long drag strip. What could go wrong?
posted by pwnguin at 3:44 PM on January 13

A train that does 431 km/h turns that into a 25 minute trip.
posted by Mitheral at 4:01 PM on January 13

All the comments saying this is ignoring local geography - you're totally right, but I assume there's a realpolitik reason for the proposed location. It can't be a coincidence that NEOM cuts straight to Saudi Arabia's sparsely-populated coast on the Gulf of Aqaba. And it's interesting from a defensive, as well as aggressive, perspective; you're basically creating a border using people, a kind of Maginot LINE.
posted by ZaphodB at 4:21 PM on January 13

The real Rapture will be built not under the ocean but in the desert.
posted by hat_eater at 4:49 PM on January 13

Snowpiercer was built along a straight line.
posted by dazed_one at 4:50 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

some desert/dune stuff in my brain reading all this, but the first thing I thought of was that in God Emperor of Dune, Leto II talks about how he has designed his imperium to foster a kind of myopic view of the universe in his subjects. Small villages. No aspirations or opportunities to leave. Why question The Line?

posted by th3ph17 at 5:29 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

This showed up in my Twitter feed as a promoted tweet, so MBS has some marketing dollars behind this.
I immediately looked for the snowpiercer references.

I had to look up Masdar, and it sounds like that is behind schedule/ hasn't sent the level of development expected. The also gave up pod transit, and it looks like they are just waiting for autonomous electric ubers
posted by CostcoCultist at 5:56 PM on January 13

I'm a utility engineer. Let me just say, this is a profoundly stupid idea for a multitude of reasons.

Back in a college geography class I came across a similar idea from Spain over a century ago.

If everywhere is within a 5 minute walk, at 3 mph this would mean a strip about 0.5 miles wide so I guess the concept is half mile squares of city built around a subway stop every 0.5-1 mile for 110 miles. Or, you could just build a normal modernist city layout with a diameter of about 8 miles and have the farthest two things be 8 miles apart.
posted by Blue Tsunami at 7:01 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Granted, there are towns and villages that are surprisingly long, but there are reasons for this growth along one line beyond a despot's say-so.
posted by hat_eater at 7:29 PM on January 13

> could organize it with 2km of services per year of age: maternity hospitals in Sector 1, K12 Sectors 5-17, etc etc until Sector 85 with the cemeteries.

Of course, moving house all the time would be a bummer, so instead have the whole city being constructed at one end and destroyed at the other, inching forward with a long string of graveyards trailing behind.

(I have a fictional conceit like this but annular and with gentrification & decay as the drivers ...)
posted by nickzoic at 7:55 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

I'm still trying to picture the incredibly huge (and vulnerable) single corridor of roadway, transport, and utilities that this will require.
posted by schmod at 8:08 PM on January 13

See also Qiddiya - a sort of city sized EPCOT located about 40 km away from Riyadh and under constructions since 2019; opening 2023 target. "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
posted by rongorongo at 3:30 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

"The next time I kill you," Scharlach replied, "I promise you the labyrinth that consists of a single straight line that is invisible and endless."
Jorge Luis Borges, Death and the Compass, 1942 (tr. Andrew Hurley)
posted by runcifex at 6:24 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]

so this is just the horizontal version of The Intuitionist
posted by wpgr at 6:29 AM on January 15

« Older U.S. asking states to speed vaccine, not hold back...   |   Quant Fund or Metal Group? Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.