NEOM: Pioneering the Future of Cities

In an age where urbanisation is accelerating and putting a strain on our mental well-being, the concept of a futuristic, sustainable city that prioritises the health and happiness of its residents seems like a utopian dream. However, the dream is soon to become a reality with NEOM. NEOM is an ambitious project set to redefine the way we live, work, and interact in urban environments. NEOM is the world’s most progressive smart city development. It is located in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, encompassing more than 10,000 square miles. The visionary project aims to create a model for future cities by placing a focus on wellbeing and mental health. In this article, we explore how NEOM is poised to become a trailblazer in promoting mental well-being within urban spaces.

Creating a Green Oasis

One of the standout features of NEOM’s design is its commitment to preserving and enhancing the natural environment. Despite being located in the heart of the desert, NEOM aims to create a lush, green oasis by incorporating extensive green spaces such as parks and botanical gardens throughout the city. Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces can significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. This improves overall mental well-being. By embracing nature, NEOM aims to provide its residents with a therapeutic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. In turn, fostering a sense of tranquillity and balance.

Incorporating Biophilic Design

NEOM embraces biophilic design – a concept that integrates natural elements into the architecture and urban planning to establish a strong connection with nature. Buildings with living walls, indoor green spaces, and natural lighting are just a few examples of biophilic design elements that will feature prominently in the city’s landscape. Such design elements have been proven to improve cognitive function, enhance creativity, and reduce stress levels, ultimately contributing to better mental health outcomes for the city’s inhabitants.

Promoting Active Lifestyles

Physical activity is intrinsically linked to mental well-being. NEOM recognises the importance of promoting active lifestyles among its residents. The city will be designed with pedestrian-friendly pathways, cycling lanes and an efficient public transportation system to encourage walking and other forms of exercise. By making physical activity accessible and enjoyable, NEOM aims to combat sedentary lifestyles and their associated negative impacts on mental health.

Technological Innovations for Mental Health

NEOM is leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance its residents’ mental health. The city’s infrastructure will be equipped with sensors and smart devices that can monitor various aspects of well-being including: air quality, noise levels and even mood indicators. This evidence-based approach will enable city planners and residents to identify and address potential stressors and create a healthier living environment. Additionally, NEOM will integrate telemedicine and virtual mental health support to provide accessible mental health services to all its residents, irrespective of their location.

Work-Life Balance

NEOM is designed to foster a healthy work-life balance, with an emphasis on flexible work arrangements and reduced working hours. The city’s urban planning will prioritise mixed-use neighbourhoods, minimising commuting times, and providing residents with more time to spend with their families and engage in leisure activities. This approach aims to reduce work-related stress and burnout, ultimately contributing to improved mental well-being.

Social and Community Support

NEOM’s focus on wellbeing extends beyond individual health and encompasses the importance of strong social connections. The city will facilitate vibrant community spaces, cultural events, and social gatherings to encourage interactions and foster a sense of belonging. Community support networks have been shown to buffer against mental health challenges. NEOM’s social infrastructure aims to create a close-knit and supportive community for all its residents.


NEOM’s holistic approach to urban planning, placing a central emphasis on mental well-being, sets a new standard for future cities worldwide. By embracing nature, incorporating biophilic design, promoting active lifestyles, and leveraging technology to support mental health, NEOM demonstrates how urban environments can actively contribute to the overall well-being of their inhabitants. As the city continues to take shape, the lessons and insights gained from NEOM will undoubtedly pave the way for a brighter, healthier future for all urban dwellers.