Through a commitment to balance, the Irvine Master Plan creates and sustains a city admired as one of the best places in America to work, live, go to school, shop, and play.
The Irvine Advantage: A Balanced Master Plan
The Irvine Master Plan was created to guide the city’s carefully phased, long-term growth. That was more than 50 years ago. Today, the Master Plan remains committed to the principle of balance between development and the preservation of natural open space, parks, and trails.
The benefits of this approach are everywhere you look: Irvine is emerging as one of America’s great cities – a livable, safe, clean, beautiful, balanced community.
Full of innovation, Irvine is poised to flourish for the next 50 years, and beyond, thanks to a forward-looking Master Plan founded on a commitment to balance.
The Master Plan called for a variety of professional office buildings in strategically located business centers to ensure a strong and steady jobs base. Today, with over 17,000 companies in Irvine -- including one-third of all Fortune 500 companies -- the city is a jobs magnet. In fact, Irvine has more jobs per resident than any city in America. Its jobs-to-population ratio of 94.8% is #1 among American cities.
These companies employ 250,000 people. Many of them live, shop, dine, go to movies, and participate in other activities that generate significant revenue for the city. Irvine’s large jobs base represents a critical source of revenue that helps make possible the city’s acclaimed lifestyle and fund its many outstanding services, including public safety, park maintenance, road, and other infrastructure improvements.
Irvine’s Schools: Best in Their Class
The Irvine Master Plan began with a commitment to education: For one dollar, Irvine Company sold 1,000 acres to the University of California to build UC Irvine. Since opening in 1965, the campus has grown to become the nation’s 9th best public university.
The Master Plan’s commitment to education envisioned an excellent public school district – and today, schools in the Irvine Unified School District consistently rank among the nation’s best:
- 82% of the district’s high school grads attend college
- IUSD students consistently outscore the county and state in SATs
- IUSD schools have been designated California Distinguished Schools or Gold Ribbon Schools 70 times
Safest Large City in America
While “safety” isn’t a stated principle of the Irvine Master Plan, it is definitely one of its most important byproducts. For 13 consecutive years, the FBI has named Irvine the nation’s safest large city, based on its low rate of violent crimes compared to cities of comparable size.
Irvine’s acclaimed Police Department plays a critical role in keeping the city’s residents and employees safe. City leaders add that Irvine’s stellar safety record results from a holistic community-wide approach that includes:
- Family-focused health and wellness programs
- Outreach to the business community
- Balanced land-use policies
- Regular maintenance of roads, parks, and other public infrastructure and facilities
- Support for the city’s schools, teachers, and students
Retail Centers Keep Revenue in Irvine
The Master Plan also made sure the city offered conveniently located local and regional retail centers. Filled with interesting choices of boutique stores, national chains, and established and trendy dining concepts, the centers generate more than $60 million in annual revenue, which, along with the city’s business centers, helps keep Irvine’s economy strong.
As a result, Irvine ranks #1 in the United States for fiscal health, ensuring the city is fiscally secure through both good and bad economic cycles.
Villages: Creating Irvine’s Unique Lifestyle
No characteristic of Irvine reflects the guiding principles of the Master Plan more fully than its villages. Radiating distinct personalities, they are designed to help residents enjoy life here to the fullest. Schools are within walking distance of many neighborhoods. Most homes are within walking distance of a park or tot lot. Stores and restaurants are nearby. Walking paths and trails connect streets and neighborhoods and other villages, encouraging residents to explore the outdoors and socialize.
The Most Open Space in Orange County
The provision of abundant parks, trails, and natural open spaces has always been a core principle of the Irvine Master Plan. For Irvine, this has resulted in more than 16,000 acres – fully one-third of the entire city – permanently preserved for those who work and live here to explore. What’s more, the city’s open spaces are part of an even larger network across The Irvine Ranch, which encompasses more than 57,000 acres, or roughly 60 percent of the entire ranch. From Bommer Canyon and Quail Hill, to the Jeffrey Open Space Trail and Loma Ridge, to Mason Regional Park and Turtle Rock Community Park, these special places create a beautiful buffer from the built environment, providing those who live and work here an unlimited landscape for enjoying the outdoors.