Atkins and Jacobs win key roles on flagship urban development project in Saudi Arabia


Key roles secured by both Atkins and Jacobs on THE LINE, NEOM’s flagship clean energy urban development.

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and Jacobs have been appointed as delivery partner organisations for THE LINE at NEOM in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both organisations will provide project and construction management consultancy services for the design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of THE LINE, together with the management of the critical interfaces between it and adjacent NEOM projects and logistics.

Billed as a civilisational revolution that will have no roads, cars or carbon emissions, THE LINE is set to provide an unprecedented urban living experience. A linear development, THE LINE, once completed, will be 170 kilometres long and only 200 metres wide cognitive city run on 100% clean energy.

It will eventually accommodate nine million residents and will be built on a land area of 34 square kilometres – a footprint unheard of compared to other cities of similar capacity. Designed around nature rather than over it, THE LINE will be surrounded by large world-class protected areas as 95% of the surrounding NEOM region will be protected for conservation.

Atkins has been awarded a five-year contract under a framework agreement for consultancy services on THE LINE. The project has adopted a highly collaborative delivery model in response to its scale, complexity, supply chain and requirements for innovation.

“THE LINE is a truly ground-breaking, world-first project and we are proud to have the opportunity to bring our global engineering, digital and net zero expertise to help create a lasting legacy for the Kingdom and its people,” said Atkins president Philip Hoare. “As a delivery partner organisation, we will work closely with NEOM and our partners to seamlessly connect people, data and technology to drive innovation, value, efficiency and certainty on the project.

“Our combined intent is to radically transform the way major infrastructure projects are delivered and THE LINE, with its vision and complexity, provides a great opportunity to demonstrate what our industry can achieve,” said Hoare.

“THE LINE presents a vision for how people could live in the future,” said Jacobs executive chair Steve Demetriou. “This project is intending to rewrite the playbook on urban development to address some of the major environmental and quality of life challenges we often see in big cities. We are committed to helping deliver projects that aspire to completely reimagine urban living and rethink what it means to live in a more connected, sustainable world,” Demetriou said.

THE LINE offers a new approach to urban design. The idea of layering city functions vertically while giving people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions (up, down or across) to access them is a concept referred to as ‘zero gravity urbanism.’ The development’s infrastructure will be embedded with sustainable smart technology containing essential utilities and transportation services, generating car-free communities and public realms.

“With over 50 years’ presence in the Middle East, Atkins has played a key role in supporting the region’s transformation by delivering some of its most iconic and complex projects,” said Campbell Gray, chief executive officer, Middle East & Africa at Atkins.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most dynamic growth markets and we are committed to supporting the country’s ambitions through our global engineering expertise, our in-depth local knowledge and our investment in the Kingdom’s future talent. As a delivery partner organisation, we will work closely with NEOM to drive value and efficiency by adopting innovative technologies and world-class sustainability standards,” said Gray.

Jacobs People & Places Solutions senior vice president and general manager Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe, Keith Lawson, commented: “This project is a complex development unlike anything that’s been done before anywhere in the world. We’ll leverage our global experience on large-scale infrastructure programs to create an integrated approach that will realise the project vision and set a new standard for infrastructure delivery worldwide.”