Irvine’s population more than doubled between 2000 and 2016 and the planned community is rare in Southern California in offering high-quality residential neighborhoods as well as employment opportunities, primarily in high-tech medical, financial, and other related industries. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is situated on 1,000 acres of land in the western portion of the city on land that the Irvine Company sold to the school in 1959. Irvine is sometimes considered both gateway and anchor of South Orange County. It is bordered by Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Tustin, Lake Forest, and Laguna Beach. The city’s commercial core is adjacent to John Wayne Airport.
At the time, Irvine Company planners worked with UCI’s architect William Pereira to plan a group of villages which would be built surrounding the old Irvine Ranch. The Villages included University Park surrounding UCI’s property, Turtle Rock, Walnut, and Westpark. These remain Irvine neighborhoods which include gated communities and executive homes today. Each of the original “villages” included places of worship, schools, and parks. Visitors to Irvine and other master-planned communities in South Orange County sometimes marvel at the 6-lane boulevards which provide quick access to homes, businesses, and the major freeways in the area. These roads run throughout Irvine. The community also benefits from two transportation corridors which include toll roads: Foothill (241) and San Joaquin Hills (73).
Each of Irvine’s more than two dozen planned neighborhoods has a unique architectural theme, ranging from Spanish Colonial to French Country, Italian Country, Prairie, California Modern, and Mediterranean-inspired. Many neighborhoods also include Craftsman homes and Tuscan Villas. CNN Money selected Irvine as the fourth-best place to live in the U.S. in 2008, and the city has consistently been named among top five and ten happiest, best-run, and safest cities by publications ranging from Business Week to Niche.com and Wallet Hub. The city’s quality of life has led to a number of major corporations establishing regional and national headquarters in the city, from Blizzard Entertainment to Edwards Lifesciences and Broadcom.
Irvine’s schools are frequently ranked in the top 100 in California, and in the top 500 nationally, including University and Northwood High Schools. which both enjoy extremely high graduation and college admission rates.
Homes in Irvine range from executive homes and condominiums to estate residences situated on hills along the San Joaquin Transportation corridor. Some homes may overlook the old Irvine Ranch, which is today a protected open space and nature preserve maintained by the visionary Irvine Company.
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