Saudi Arabia is largest oil exporter and one of the most robust world economy of the Muslim World, but with lower oil prices made it harder for the country to pay its oil workers.
The Saudi Arabian government has been working in recent years to transform hundreds of square miles of desert into new cities which create jobs and diversify the economy from crude oil.
One of the developments under construction is the Knowledge Economic City, set to be complete by 2020.
Take a look at the master plan below.
Saudi Arabia is building the Knowledge Economic City in Medina, located 60 miles from the Red Sea coast. Amr Dabbagh, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, announced the project in 2006.
The$7 billion development will measure 51.6 million square feet when complete.
The city’s master plan calls for retail, office space, and over 1 million square feet of housing.
The Knowledge Economic City’s four residential neighborhoods will feature parks, playgrounds, gyms, mosques, shops, and swimming pools. One block will include 900 villas, which will look like this.
The retail space will include a 538,000-square-foot strip mall.
The mall will have luxury cars showrooms, restaurants, cafés, and some American food chains.
The Saudi Arabian government claims the development will create 20,000 jobs and provide housing for 150,000 people. They will live in apartment buildings that look like this.
Residents will be able to travel to Mecca and Jeddah via the Haramain High-Speed Railway, a 281-mile train line set to open in early 2018.
The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s effort to create an economy that focuses less on oil. In October, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the government would also start building a $500 billion mega-city, called NEOM.
The developments are indeed ambitious.