Villages of Irvine Masterfully Planned and Globally Admired
BY ROB ELLIOTT
Group Senior Vice President, Urban Planning & Design, Irvine Company
Before Irvine became a city, Irvine Company planners made several bold predictions about the extraordinary quality of life it would offer residents. In an early planning document from the late 1960s, they wrote the following:
“The City of Irvine is planned so that it will improve with age, rather than deteriorate.” And: “Irvine residents will live in an environment that is as attractive, as balanced, and as enduring as the science of urban planning can make it.”
In Irvine, Master Planning Makes All the Difference
Bold, especially when you consider they wrote those words and made those predictions when Irvine was in its very initial planning stages. Now, at the age of 43, Irvine is admired throughout the world as the greatest master-planned city. What’s its secret to success? The Irvine Company’s pioneering and unwavering commitment to large-scale community master planning, which includes a partnership with the city and its residents.
In Irvine, the cornerstone of this master planning is the village concept. Asked where they live, many residents respond not by saying Irvine, but by naming their village, be it Northwood, Northpark, Stonegate or Cypress Village. This isn’t surprising, since each of the Villages of Irvine radiates a strong and unique personality and sense of place.
Villages Enable Comprehensive City-Building
Irvine’s villages are a terrific planning tool for comprehensive city-building, because each village brings with it many of its own services and amenities including retail centers, schools, parks and housing. This kind of comprehensive, village-level planning and development is really unusual – and it’s been possible due to the Irvine Company’s historic decision to keep the land under single, long-term ownership.
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