Irvine (pronounced /ˈɜrvaɪn/) is an incorporated city in Orange County, California, United States. It is a planned city, mainly developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Formally incorporated on December 28, 1971, the 69.7 square mile (180.5 km2) city has a population of about 212,793 (as of January 1, 2009). It has annexed in the past an undeveloped area to the north, and has also annexed the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, most of which is planned to be converted into the Orange County Great Park.
Because of its good schools, jobs and housing, the city was chosen in 2008 by CNNMoney.com as the fourth best place to live in the United States. In June 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate (four homicides, 17 rapes, 50 robberies and 55 aggravated assaults in 2006) among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000, and in August 2008 the Census Bureau ranked Irvine as having the seventh highest median income among cities in the United States with populations of more than 65,000.
Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Concordia University, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California (USC), and the Irvine campuses of Alliant International University, California State University Fullerton (CSUF), University of La Verne and Pepperdine University. Irvine Valley College, a community college, is also located in the city.
Irvine was inhabited by the Gabrielino indigenous group about 2,000 years ago. Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish explorer, came to the area in 1769. This brought on the establishment of forts, missions and herds of cattle. The King of Spain parceled out land for missions and private use.
After Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican government secularized the missions and assumed control of the lands. It began distributing the land to Mexican citizens who applied for grants. Three large Spanish/Mexican grants made up the land that later became the Irvine Ranch: Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago.
In 1864, Jose Andres Sepulveda, owner of Rancho San Joaquin sold 50,000 acres (200 km2) to Benjamin and Thomas Flint, Llewellyn Bixby and James Irvine for $18,000 to resolve debts due to the Great Drought. In 1866, Irvine, Flint and Bixby acquired 47,000-acre (190 km2) Rancho Lomas de Santiago for $7,000. After the Mexican-American war the land of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana fell prey to tangled titles. In 1868, the ranch was divided among four claimants as part of a lawsuit: Flint, Bixby and Irvine. The ranches were devoted to sheep grazing. However, in 1870, tenant farming was permitted.
In 1878, James Irvine acquired his partners' interests for $150,000. His 110,000 acres (450 km2) stretched 23 miles (37 km) from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River. James Irvine died in 1886. The ranch was inherited by his son, James Irvine, Jr. who incorporated it into The Irvine Company. James, Jr. shifted the ranch operations to field crops, olive and citrus crops.
In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad extended its line to Fallbrook Junction (north of San Diego) and named a station along the way after James Irvine. The town that formed around this station was named Myford, after Irvine's son, because a post office in Calaveras County already bore the family name. The town was renamed Irvine in 1914.
By 1918, 60,000 acres (240 km2) of lima beans were grown on the Irvine Ranch. Two Marine Corps facilities, MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin, were built during World War II on ranch land sold to the government.
James Irvine, Jr. died in 1947 at the age of 80. His son, Myford, assumed the presidency of The Irvine Company. He began opening small sections of the Irvine Ranch to urban development. Myford Irving died in 1959. The same year, the University of California asked The Irvine Company for 1,000 acres (4 km2) for a new university campus. The Irvine Company sold the requested land for $1 and later the State purchased an additional 500 acres (2 km2).
William Pereira, the University's consulting architect, and The Irvine Company planners drew up master plans for a city of 50,000 people surrounding the new university. The plan called for industrial, residential and recreational areas, commercial centers and greenbelts. The new community was to be named Irvine; the old agricultural town of Irvine, where the railroad station and post office were located, was renamed East Irvine. The villages of Turtle Rock, University Park, Culverdale, the Ranch and Walnut were completed by 1970.
On December 28, 1971, the residents of these communities voted to incorporate a substantially larger city than the one envisioned by the Pereira plan. By January 1999, Irvine had a population of 134,000 and a total area of 43 square miles (111 km2).
Irvine is a charter city, operating under a Council/Manager form of government.
According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $403.8 million in Revenues, $261.4 million in expenditures, $2,265.1 million in total assets, $101.9 million in total liabilities, and $755.9 million in cash and investments.
The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:
|City Manager||Sean Joyce|
|Assistant City Manager||Sharon Landers|
|Assistant City Manager||Wally Kreutzen|
|City Attorney||Phil Kohn|
|City Clerk||Sharie Apodaca|
|Director Administrative Services||Rick Paikoff|
|Director of Community Development||Douglas Williford|
|Director of Community Services||Paula Burrier-Lund|
|Director of Public Safety||Dave Maggard|
|Director of Public Works||Manuel Gomez|
|Orange County Great Park CEO||Mike Ellzey|
The City Council consists of the Mayor and four City Council members. The Mayor serves a two year term and Council members serve 4 year terms. The city has a two term limit for elected officials. Elections are held every two years, on even-numbered years. During each election, two Council members and the Mayor's seat is up for consideration. The City Council appoints the City Manager, who functions as the chief administrator of the city. The City Council sets the policies for the city, and the City Manager is responsible for implementing the policies.The City Council appoints volunteers that serve on various advisory boards, commissions and committees.
The City of Irvine is served by eight departments. These departments are responsible for managing and performing all of the business of the City Hall and its services:
Irvine has three independent districts: Educational, Police and Utilities. Other government services are:
Irvine contracts with the County of Orange for fire and medical services. Fire protection in Irvine is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority with ambulance service by Doctor's Ambulance. Law enforcement is provided by the Irvine Police Department (IPD). The IPD operates in a suburban city rated as having one of the lowest violent crime rates among cities with over 100,000 inhabitants by the FBI every year since 2005. The University of California Police Department also has jurisdiction – including arrest power – in areas of the city near the UC Irvine campus, while the California State University Police Department has similar jurisdiction in areas of the city near the CSU Fullerton Irvine campus.
In the state legislature Irvine is located in the 33rd and 35th Senate Districts, represented by Republicans Mimi Walters and Tom Harman respectively, and in the 70th Assembly District, represented by Republican Chuck DeVore. Federally, Irvine is located in California's 48th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +8 and is represented by Republican John Campbell.
The cities bordering Irvine include Tustin on the north, Santa Ana on the northwest, Lake Forest on the east, Laguna Hills on the southeast, Costa Mesa on the west, and Newport Beach on the southwest. San Diego Creek, which flows northeast into Upper Newport Bay, is the primary watercourse draining the city. Its largest tributary is Peters Canyon Wash. Most of Irvine is in a broad, flat valley between Loma Ridge in the north and San Joaquin Hills in the south. In the extreme north and south areas, however, are several hills, plateaus and canyons.
Irvine, like most of coastal Southern California, generally has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool, rarely falling below freezing. Precipitation in Irvine occurs predominantly during the winter months. Although snow is nonexistent, frost occasionally occurs.
|Weather data for Irvine|
|Average high °F (°C)||68|
|Average low °F (°C)||41|
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.96|
|Source: Weather Channel|
The layout of Irvine was designed by Los Angeles architect William Pereira and Irvine Company employee Raymond Watson, and is nominally divided into townships called villages. The townships are separated by six-lane streets. Each township contains houses of similar design, along with commercial centers, religious institutions and schools. Commercial districts are checker-boarded in a periphery around the central townships.
Pereira originally envisioned a circular plan with numerous man-made lakes and the university in the center. When the Irvine Company refused to relinquish valuable farmland in the flat central region of the ranch for this plan, the University site was moved to the base of the southern coastal hills. The design that ended up being used was based on the shape of a necklace (with the villages strung along two parallel main streets, which terminate at University of California, Irvine (UCI), the "pendant"). Traces of the original circular design are visible in the layout of the UCI campus and the two man-made lakes at the center of Woodbridge, one of the central villages.
All streets have landscaping allowances. Rights-of-way for powerlines also serve as bicycle corridors, parks and greenbelts to tie together ecological preserves. The greenery is irrigated with reclaimed water.
The homeowners' associations which govern some village neighborhoods exercise varying degrees of control on the appearances of homes. In more restrictive areas, houses' roofing, paint colors, and landscaping are regulated. Older parts of the Village of Northwood that were developed beginning in the early 1970s independent of the Irvine Company, have the distinction of being a larger village that is not under the purview of a homeowners' association. As a result, homeowners in the older Northwood areas do not pay a monthly village association fee; and its neighborhoods are generally not as uniform in appearance as those in other villages such as West Park and Woodbridge. However, the more tightly regulated villages generally offer more amenities such as members-only swimming pools, tennis courts, and parks.
In addition to association dues, homeowners in villages developed in the 1980s and later may be levied a Mello-Roos assessment, which came about in the post-Proposition 13 era. For homeowners in these areas, the association dues coupled with the Mello-Roos assessment may add significantly to the cost of living in the city.
The Irvine Ranch played host to the Boy Scouts of America's 1953 National Scout Jamboree. Jamboree Road, a major street which now stretches from Newport Beach to the City of Orange, was named in honor of this event.
Each of the villages was initially planned to have a distinct architectural theme.
|historical data source:|
The census of 2000 found there were 143,072 people, 51,199 households, and 34,354 families in the city. The population density is 1,196.2/km2 (3,098.0/mi2), as of the census. There are 53,711 housing units at an average density of 449.1/km2 (1,163.0/mi2). The racial makeup of the city is 61.06% White, 1.45% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 29.83% Asian American, 1.14% Pacific Islander, 2.54% from other races, and 4.82% from two or more races. 7.37% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 51,199 households out of which 36.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% are married couples living together, 9.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% are non-families. 22.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.70 persons and the average family size is 3.17.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 14.4% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.0 males.
According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the median income for a household in the city is $98,923, and the median income for a family is $111,455; these numbers make Irvine the seventh richest city in the USA, among cities with population 65,000 or higher. 9.1% of the population and 5.0% of families are below the poverty line. Of the total population, 6.1% of those under the age of 18 and 5.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
In 2006, the median gross rent paid for housing was $1,660 a month. This was the highest of any place in the United States of more than 100,000 people. The skyrocketing high cost of housing is a major issue in Irvine and Orange County, as the city council faces pressure to approve future income-subsidized housing projects to meet the demands of working-class citizens.
Like much of Orange County, more resident voters are registered in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party . However, a majority on the city council, including the last three mayors, identify with the Democratic Party. In 2008 then-Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama received more votes in Irvine than his Republican challenger John McCain, receiving more than 57% of the vote. Republican John Campbell was also elected on less than 3-point majority. Democratic State Senator candidate Ginny Meyer won in Irvine but lost in other cities in Orange County. These recent changes in voter attitudes in Irvine reflect the changing political atmosphere in the city as the population increases. California is overwhelmingly more liberal while Orange County is more conservative, yet Irvine has only recently began distancing from Orange County conservatism and adopting Californian liberalism.
Most of Irvine is located in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD). The four high schools in IUSD are University High School, Irvine High School, Northwood High School and Woodbridge High School. Each earned a six-year accreditation in 2006. Arnold O. Beckman High School is located in Irvine but is administered by Tustin Unified School District.
The four high schools in IUSD have consistently made Newsweek's list of Top 1,300 U.S. Public High Schools. In 2003, University High School ranked 58thout of the top 804 high schools in the nation while Northwood High School ranked 404th, Irvine High School ranked 505th, and Woodbridge High School ranked 803rd. In 2005, University High School ranked 117th out of the top 1000 high schools with Northwood High School ranking 389th, Irvine High School ranking 816th, and Woodbridge High School ranking 1040th. In 2006, University High School ranks at 156th out of 1,200 top high schools while Northwood High School ranks at 296th, Irvine High School ranks at 1044th, and Woodbridge High School rank at 1156th. And in 2007, University High School ranked 76th among the top 100 high schools in the nation as listed by US News & World Report. All of these schools on the Newsweek list were in the top 4 percent in the nation.
Irvine is also home to elementary and middle schools, including two alternative, year round, open enrollment K-8 schools (Plaza Vista and Vista Verde). The district recently constructed a new larger high tech campus for Vista Verde School in the village of Turtle Ridge. The district also has a music program starting in the 4th grade. Parts of the north and west of the city are within the Tustin Unified School District.
Irvine is home to University of California, Irvine, which is the second-newest campus (established 1965) in the UC system after University of California, Merced. Other higher education institutions in Irvine include Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, and a satellite campus of California State University, Fullerton. Chapman University and Soka University of America are in adjacent cities.
According to the 2000 United States Census Irvine is ranked 7th nationwide, among cities with populations of at least 100,000, for having the highest percentage of people who are at least 25 years old with doctoral degrees, with 3,589 residents reporting such educational attainment.
Irvine has three public libraries: Heritage Park Regional Library, University Park Library, and Katie Wheeler Library. The Heritage Library serves as the regional reference library for Central Orange County and has a strong business focus while the University Park Library has 95,745 books including a substantial Chinese collection. Katie Wheeler was the granddaughter of James Irvine, and the library is a replica of the house owned by Irvine in which she grew up. Additionally, most UCI Libraries are open to the public.