Saudi Arabia Megaprojects and Innovation

aerial view on cliff in desert
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By Maria Paz Galarraga

Innovation becomes a core principle for Saudi Arabia’s future investments. Vision 2030 is made up of a group of projects aimed at economic, social, and cultural diversification. Their purpose is to make Saudi Arabia a tourist, and economic destination hosting millions of travelers while supporting a sustainable and safe home for thousands of citizens. Each project has a different focus; while some aim at the energy sector, others focus on urban, tourism, culture, and housing. The development of each megaproject requires billion-dollar investments coming from both the government itself and external entities. Vision 2030 comes from the idea of making Saudi Arabia the heart of the Arab and Islamic world, led by the determination of becoming a global investment powerhouse. It is a country that offers the best of all worlds, it is rich in natural resources, holds a strong national economy, is covered in biodiversity, and is home to a pluricultural society. The three main pillars, within Saudi Arabia, holding up this mind-blowing blueprint of the future are its vibrant society, its thriving economy, and its ambitiousness.

Under the energy sector, there are four ongoing projects. The Absorption Base Desalination Plant started in 2017 using new desalination systems and technologies. The project is part of the effort to develop a sustainable domestic water sector focusing on the preservation of the environment. Their first objective is to transfer and localize emerging desalination technologies at national and local levels. Followed by testing the process of Zero Liquid Discharge from different perspectives. The third objective consists in proving the efficiency of the plan specifically on a small industrial scale. Finally, the last objective focuses on the utilization and building of renewable energy during the operation of water and thermal desalination. The project has already resulted in 2 patents, producing 5,000m^3/day of clean water and 700kg/day of crystallized salt. All of this is done by 3.7 tons of carbon emission reduction every year. The second project, instead focuses on nuclear research contributing to the design of the nuclear reactor industry within the country. Low Power Research has already established 8 laboratories and training facilities. Solar research on PV Cell and modules are another of their focuses as well as using solar power for the water desalination project.  

A strong focus on the energy sector is crucial for the development of every other project. The kingdom leaves no aspect of their country behind: AIUIa, Diriyah Gate, Green Riyadh, King Alamn Energy, NOEM, Qiddiya, AMAALA, and ROSHN are some of the most outstanding and ambitious projects ever to be developed. Out of this list, NEOM is a bold and audacious idea aimed toward the near future of the country. The project offers business, livability, and sustainability. It is located in the Red Sea, northwest of Saudi Arabia, and it will provide a home for people whose minds have no limits. The project has 4 main objectives, first, it aims at growing and diversifying the economy, posing the country as a world leader in development, and it aims at becoming home for millions of citizens from around the world embracing culture and diversity. Third, it implements an urban model based on sustainability, setting new standards for environmental protection at a global level. Last but not least, it will include communities, sports centers, research centers, and tourist destinations all focused on the well-being of humankind. Some sub-projects coming from NEOM are The Line, OXEGON, and TROJENA. All three focused on the same objectives while proposing new vanguard architecture. The line estimates the creation of 380,000 jobs contributing 180 billion SAR to the country’s GDP by 2030. The power will be 100% renewable guaranteeing sustainability and an eco-friendly community. 

There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia’s focus on urban development has set them in the eye of the public. The world holds high expectations for each and one of the projects launched by the Kingdom. This state makes a step forward in innovation aiming high and toward a positive solution to global issues. Saudi Arabia understands that we are not lacking technologies to renovate our cities, our lifestyles and improve welfare. Instead, technological advancements are enough to start developing environmentally friendly spaces, blending our societies with nature, and finally allowing the harmony needed for proper cooperation. At the same time, each investment tackles issues of poverty and unemployment, generating tourism, creating new jobs, and investing in research. There is no question that with this crazy approach to development Saudi Arabian government positions itself as a world leader in the fields of technology, innovation and, suitable development.  

Saudi Arabia megaprojects: 15 massive developments in the making. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from 

Vision 2030 Projects. Vision 2030. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from 

Ikiz, S. U. (2023, February 20). Saudi Arabia’s next mega-projet: Mukaab, an indoor super-city in Riyadh. Parametric Architecture. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from’s%20Public%20Investment%20Fund,new%20downtown%20area%20in%20Riyadh. Nassar, R. (2023, February 22). The MUKAAB: Saudi Arabia announces plans for the “world’s largest inner city building” – intertravel – travel agency flights tours tourism. Intertravel. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from


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