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In addition to "The Line", Saudi Arabia is also planning "Jaumur" - a destination for superyachts


Neom's new project "Jaumur" in Saudi Arabia
© NEOM

Despite recent challenges, Neom is still planning to build an "exclusive residential development" in the Gulf of Aqaba, designed as a destination for superyachts.


Neom is considered one of the largest construction projects of our time. Saudi Arabia plans to build a kind of utopia in the desert for an estimated 1.5 trillion dollars. The most well-known of these many sub-projects is a linear mega-city called "The Line", which is to stretch over 170 kilometers through the desert like two extremely elongated skyscrapers. Now, the people in charge of Neom have surprisingly announced "Jaumur": This new construction project is a luxury oasis for the super-rich, which will preferably be visited by yacht.


The complex, which at first glance looks like a collection of sandcrawlers from "Star Wars" stranded in a container port, is set to house up to 6,000 wealthy residents on the Gulf of Aqaba. If everything goes according to plan, the project will include 500 apartments and 700 luxury villas, all located in a modern marina with direct access to the water and private berths. There are also plans for two hotels, each with 350 rooms and suites.


The official description of Jaumur highlights the marina, which is specially designed to accommodate the "world's largest" superyachts. A 1.5-kilometer-long wing will extend over the largest berths to provide shelter for the luxurious vessels. In addition to architectural and cultural highlights, special educational facilities are also planned for Jaumur. A deep-sea research center is intended to attract experts in marine biology and ecological studies, with the aim of developing Neom into a world-leading center for oceanographic research.


Many subprojects


Neom is a large-scale development project in Saudi Arabia launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of Vision 2030. This initiative aims to reduce the country's economic dependence on the oil sector. Neom covers an area of 26,500 square kilometers in northwest Saudi Arabia and includes coastal areas on the Red Sea and, as in the case of Jaumur, the Gulf of Aqaba.


The project is designed as a network of different specialized zones, with each zone focusing on advanced industries and technologies. Smart cities are planned that will use the latest technologies in the areas of energy, water, mobility, biotechnology, food production and digital services to set new standards for the society of the future. These cities are to be particularly environmentally friendly and rely largely on renewable energies such as solar and wind power.


Various problems


This is in stark contrast to current developments. Neom has also sparked controversy, particularly in relation to its treatment of the area's original inhabitants. Reports suggest that Saudi authorities have allegedly used violence to clear land for the projects.


Jaumur's announcement is also surprising because it was recently reported that Neom's flagship project "The Line" had encountered initial construction difficulties. It was originally planned that around 1.5 million people would live in the mega-city by 2030. However, new information suggests that "only" 2.4 kilometers of the city will be completed by then. This would significantly reduce the projected population to under 300,000 people. At least one company involved has already started laying off employees due to these changes in plans.


Sand could become scarce


Neom is facing a seemingly paradoxical problem: sand is becoming scarce in the desert region. This is because not all sand is suitable for construction purposes. According to golem.de, most desert sands are not ideal for making concrete, as concrete requires a mixture of different grain sizes to ensure high strength. However, the predominant desert sands have poor processing properties and require a disproportionately high amount of binding agents to achieve a stable structure.


Given the enormous scale of "The Line", huge quantities of building materials are required. Since only about five percent of the sand available worldwide is suitable for concrete, competition is emerging for this resource, which is also in high demand by industrialized nations. This not only leads to a shortage, but also to environmental and sustainability problems, as sand mining often causes ecological damage. The challenge of realizing climate-neutral megaprojects such as "The Line" or "Jaumur" is further complicated by the need for specific sand and the environmentally damaging aspects of its extraction and processing.


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