Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia has launched several new megaprojects. One notable initiative is Jeddah Economic City, which will result in the construction of the world’s tallest tower — Jeddah Tower.
Jeddah Economic City is one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship megaprojects. Outlines for the city indicate that 210 towers that are over 30 floors high and numerous features will be built to foster an economically and environmentally friendly atmosphere. The city is being constructed in line with the recently announced Saudi Green Initiative, which seeks to increase the amount of green space in the country, while also increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, and planting more trees.
Jeddah City will be divided into three districts: A financial sector, a residential sector, and Al-Balad, which will recreate segments of old Jeddah. Throughout history, Jeddah has been a vital relief stop for Muslims going on pilgrimage to the holy city. As such, the Al-Balad district could reflect many of the architectural and cultural traits that Jeddah has adopted over the past centuries. In addition, the city will be home to Jeddah Tower, which is slated to be 1 kilometer tall. The tower is set to overtake Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building. According to recent reports, approximately 90% of road construction and landscaping work for the city has been completed.
Since 2016, Saudi Arabia has invested significant resources to achieve the modernization, and economic development goals in the Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to reshape Saudi Arabia’s economy to avoid a dependence on foreign labor and oil. However, in some ways, the construction of flashy and tech-savvy new cities and spaces fails to address some of the economic necessities of Saudi citizens. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown resulted in citizen unemployment rates rising to 15.4%, though this figure has decreased as the Kingdom opens up. In addition, Saudis have been struggling with widening inequality, especially after the government tripled the value-added tax on goods and services during the pandemic, and inflation soared.
As Saudi Arabia continues down the path of modernization, economic recovery is just around the corner. Projects like Jeddah Economic City and Jeddah Tower will be shining beacons of the Kingdom’s progress.