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‘The next era of human progress’: what lies behind the global new cities epidemic?

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“It’s quite revealing that [Neom] is more of a vanity project targeting the domestic elite and an international audience in terms of a new Saudi, one that’s open and economically or socially liberal,” says Josh Cooper, of Al Qst. “But at the same time, not allowing the involvement of local actors or interests in these decision-making processes.”

For Cooper, Neom is less a shining vision of the future than a grim symbol of Saudi human rights violations, underscored by the treatment of the Huwaitat tribe.

“It shows the lack of platforms people have to express their opinions, even on less contentious matters than civil or political rights,” he says.

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