In 1960, William Pereira was presented with an unprecedented opportunity. Not only had he been assigned to design a major university, but also to master-plan the entire community of which it would be a part.
The concept of the new town, a residential environment that contained all of the elements needed for its citizens, was a revolutionary idea at the time. Similar communities had been created across the country with encouraging success. Irvine was to be the largest.
The university was intended to be the heart of the new community that would soon surround it.
Pereira wrote that "The "starfish shape" of the campus will allow the university to penetrate into the surrounding community, drawing strength from it and infusing it with intellectual vitality."
After the University of California-Irvine was completed, Perieira moved his attention to developing the master plan for the city that would surround it.
In 1963 he wrote, "In recent years, we here in California have become rather expert at abusing our land and our resources. Here we have a tremendous opportunity to point people's tastes and expectations in another direction. And we can do it-the sheer size of the place makes almost anything possible."
On March 19, 1970, Irvine Company President William Mason and Vice President Ray Watson announced plans for the largest totally planned city in the western hemisphere.
The City of Irvine, comprising 53,000 acres, would be twice the size of the City of San Francisco.
It would be home to 24 separate residential villages, over 4,000 acres of industrial development, and 2,400 acres of open space for parks.
But Irvine's most unique feature was not the quantity of its acreage, but the quality of life it offered.
The LA Times wrote, "...The plan presents an encouraging awareness of life values to go along with property values. Its accent is not as much on size and growth as on the quality of the environment."
Today, over 40 years after its incorporation as a city, William Perieira's ideas are still receiving raved reviews.
The award winning school district, diverse corporate community, and its "safest city" designation, did not happen by mere coincidence.
It was all part of the plan.