There are thousands of cities in the world, and there’s a reason none is in the shape of a line

The optimal form of a city is round. So why is The Line so linear?

Somewhere in the Saudi Arabian desert, construction crews are hard at work on the longest, skinniest, tallest—and some might even say, most hubristic—city in human history. The Line really is underway, if the recent footage released by Neom, the special economic zone/development agency behind the project, is to be believed.

How all of those bulldozers and pile drivers toiling away in the sand will contribute to the city’s zero-emissions status is one of many outstanding questions about The Line. But recent weeks have demonstrated that the project is, at the very least, more than a passing whim.

Much has been written about the ethicalenvironmental, and economic merits of The Line. But now that shovels are in the ground, perhaps it’s time to take a more serious look at the urban planning of this “model city.