By Paul Hodgins
Master-planned communities have been part of the social and architectural fabric of Orange County since Mission Viejo and Irvine broke ground about half a century ago. For better or worse, their perfectly manicured public spaces, ubiquitous red-tile roofs and beige homogeneity have come to define Southern California’s suburban landscape.
But our society has transformed profoundly in the last five decades. Here and elsewhere in the U.S., urban planners and home designers have carefully measured peoples’ changing needs, priorities, preferences and attitudes, recalibrating master-planned communities (MPCs, as they’re called in the industry) to serve and satisfy those demands.
With Irvine’s Great Park Neighborhoods, developer FivePoint is bringing to life an ambitious residential project adjacent to the 1,300-acre Great Park being built on the site of a former Marine Corps air station. It incorporates many of the concepts common to modern master-planned communities.
The development opened in 2013 with Pavilion Park, a 726-home neighborhood. When it’s completed, the 2,100-acre plan will include more than 9,500 residences by 10 homebuilders, 138 acres of open space and trails and 61 acres of parkland linked by a system of greenbelts.