These billion-dollar cities are straight out of science fiction, and they will soon become a reality

forest city

  • A few nations are embarking on expensive megaprojects with technologies that must be seen to be believed. 
  • Saudi Arabia is developing a $500 billion city with robot workers and drone taxis, while India is installing digital cubes that beam videos to the public.
  • These billion-dollar developments are blurring the lines between reality and science fiction. 

Cities may be a long way from hovercrafts and Hyperloops, but they’re slowly catching up to the visions of science fiction. 

Technologies that once seemed impossible, like driverless cars and drone taxis, are now popping up mega-developments around the world. 

By designing cities from scratch, nations like India, Saudi Arabia, and the US can accommodate new innovations in infrastructure and deliver services more efficiently to residents.

Take a look at the development projects that are blurring the lines between reality and science fiction. 

Senegal’s $2 billion futuristic city has been likened to Wakanda from “Black Panther.”

When the superhero film “Black Panther” was released in 2018, its fictional city of Wakanda immediately drew comparisons to certain future-focused African development projects. 

The similarities between Wakanda and the $2 billion Diamniadio Lake City in Senegal are particularly striking. 

With their sharp architecture and shimmering steel buildings, both cities seem to have leapt from the pages of a comic book.

Diamniadio was even mistakenly used in promotional material for Akon’s Crypto City, a theoretical community modeled after the Black Panther metropolis.

Read more: Senegal is building a $2 billion futuristic city to help cut down on overcrowding in Dakar — check out its abstract design

Qatar is building a $45 billion city to host the World Cup in 2022.

Plans for the city of Lusail first surfaced in 2005, but were delayed until 2010, when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

The city is now set to arrive by 2020, and will feature a new stadium, skyscrapers, villas, and 22 new hotels. It will also implement pneumatic trash tubes that transport waste to a single location.

At 38 square miles, Lusail will accommodate 450,000 people — nearly 200,000 more than the number of citizens in Qatar.

But the development could come at a price. Qatar has been criticized for its inhumane labor practices, which human rights watchers have likened to “modern day slavery.” Already, workers in Lusail have complained of long hours and withheld pay.

Read more:  Qatar is building a $45 billion city from scratch for the World Cup that it might lose


A $500 billion megacity in Saudi Arabia is preparing for a world of robot workers and drone taxis.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a massive development boom, with the arrival of around 4,700 active construction projects. The most expensive of these projects is Neom, a megacity that links to Africa via a bridge over the Red Sea. 

In late October, a string of prominent investors temporarily pulled out of the project after the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose death has been linked to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

If brought to life, Neom would introduce a utopian vision of robot workers and drone taxis for the steep price of $500 billion. 

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion megacity is on shaky ground after a journalist’s death

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