Inside Oxagon: Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Floating Port City

Imagine a bustling city rising from the waters of the Red Sea, its unique octagonal shape dominating the skyline. This is Oxagon, the centerpiece of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Neom project.

The Vision Behind Oxagon

Saudi Arabia’s Quest for Economic Diversification

Saudi Arabia has long been dependent on its oil reserves, but in recent years, the country has set its sights on diversifying its economy. This ambition is encapsulated in Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing the nation’s reliance on oil and embracing renewable energy.

As part of this vision, Saudi Arabia unveiled the Neom project, a futuristic city spanning 26,500 square kilometers in the northeastern region of the country. Within Neom, Oxagon takes center stage as a transformative port and logistics hub.

A Floating Marvel: Oxagon’s Unique Design

Oxagon’s design is nothing short of extraordinary. This floating city will have an octagonal shape, featuring sections on land and a significant portion extending into the Red Sea. The offshore segment alone is expected to become the largest floating structure in the world.

The city will be organized around water-filled squares connected by small canals, creating a picturesque and navigable environment. Oxagon will house a range of facilities, including a cruise terminal and an oceanographic research center.

Driving Economic Growth and Sustainability

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisions Oxagon as a catalyst for economic growth and diversity within Neom. The city’s strategic location, positioned to benefit from maritime traffic passing through the Suez Canal, makes it an ideal hub for logistics and maritime activities.

Moreover, Oxagon aligns with the goals of Vision 2030 by prioritizing environmental sustainability. The Neom developers aim to redefine global industrial development by creating a city that protects the environment while fostering job creation and economic growth.

Controversies Surrounding Neom

While the Neom project has been hailed as an ambitious and groundbreaking endeavor, it has not been without its share of controversies. Critics have raised concerns about the project’s sustainability and human rights implications.

The Line: A Mirrored Skyscraper City

One of the controversial elements of the Neom development is “The Line,” a 170-kilometer-long city designed by US studio Morphosis. This mirror-clad skyscraper city aims to accommodate nine million people, but its sustainability and human rights impacts have come under scrutiny.

Displacement of the Huwaitat Tribe

Human rights organizations have reported issues related to the displacement of the Huwaitat tribe in connection with Neom. The project’s critics argue that the rapid development and construction have led to the forced relocation of indigenous communities, raising questions about the social impact of the project.

Moral Dilemmas for Architects and Designers

The controversies surrounding Neom have also raised moral dilemmas for architects and designers involved in the project. Some have faced scrutiny and criticism for their continued participation in a project that has drawn criticism for its environmental and social claims.

The Future of Oxagon and Neom

A Global Trade Hub

Oxagon’s construction represents Saudi Arabia’s ambition to establish a new global trade hub. With its strategic location and state-of-the-art facilities, the city is poised to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s regional trade and commerce, attracting businesses and fostering economic growth.

Redefining Industrial Development

The Neom project as a whole, with Oxagon at its core, aims to redefine global industrial development. By prioritizing environmental sustainability and innovative design, the project seeks to create a blueprint for future cities that balance economic growth with the preservation of the environment.

Addressing Concerns and Striving for Transparency

In response to the controversies surrounding Neom, the developers have expressed their commitment to addressing concerns and striving for transparency. They aim to engage with stakeholders and communities to ensure that the project’s development aligns with ethical and sustainable practices.

Looking Ahead

Oxagon epitomises Saudi Arabia’s bold vision for economic diversification and sustainable development. With its innovative design and strategic location, Oxagon aims to drive economic growth, while the controversies surrounding the Neom project highlight the challenges of balancing progress with social and environmental responsibility. As the construction of Oxagon continues, Saudi Arabia faces the task of navigating these complexities and shaping the future of this ambitious endeavor.