Irvine appears nice, but under the surface.......
Lived in Irvine off and on for 25 years. Density and traffic have become as undesirable as LA was in the 90s. The city times the traffic lights so drivers hit almost all red lights, no matter what street or time of day.
Much is said about how Asian it is, but that is too much of a generalization. There are a substantial number of Chinese-born residents, students, and workers. Especially since UCI has courted that demographic since the early 80s. The honest observation is that many (not all) Chinese-born residents are not very friendly, drive/walk slow, will cut in lines in front of others, speak little English, and are known to cheat in school regularly. Numerous birther houses in Irvine. Some of the driving is truly atrocious. Many work loosely or more formally for the Chinese Communist party to disclose information about Americans, tech, etc. Stealing and deception are accepted priorities in their culture.
Although American culture has many commonalities with European and South American countries, there is almost nothing in common with China. The children of Chinese-born parents sometimes struggle to be American while growing up with Chinese parents, but many do so successfully in Irvine.
These cultural distinctions are very different than Vietnamese, Japanese, or other Asians. Irvine’s culture is increasingly dominated by China, so other Asians, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and others are taking a back seat. It will one day become a Chinese outpost with 90%+ Chinese. So, if you don’t like the Chinese culture, you won’t like Irvine.
The problem with Irvine is the Irvine Company. They own most of the apartment complexes, office buildings, and sell land to home builders. And they are the devil personified. At best, like the Mafia. They are heavy-handed, controlling, unethical, and control both the city planning department and city council. Diabolical is another accurate word. Although many longtime residents are familiar with The Irvine Company’s antics, the company manages to keep a low profile and the media stays away from them. (They will undoubtedly have this posting erased and my body will never be found….)
If you have a reason to live in Irvine, try not to rent from them or work for a company that is in one of their buildings. I am pro-capitalist, but they are horrendous and all the executives should be in jail. They treat residents and workers with disdain, all while feigning the smile of a Cheshire cat. They will raise your rent relentlessly, sue you for small matters, and lie about anything. They hire actors and actresses to testify in court proceedings about tenants and vendors, and at city meetings. I could go on and on, but avoid if at all possible.
Aesthetically, the entire city is bland. Density is becoming insane as massive apartment projects are built – these “rabbit warrens” have little to no appeal to most people, but millennials seem to sign up as renters. The Irvine Company controls most architecture and it shows. Some people find the homogeny welcoming, but most do not. There are many neighborhoods, especially of new homes, that are 100% Chinese. The Irvine Company sells this land, much of which is contaminated, but the buyers do not know the extent of contamination, and the city is ignorant or paid off. The Irvine Company even allowed a subdivision to be built on a former Native American burial ground, and they bought off the consultants to keep quiet.
So if you like high prices, congestion, and living under Mafia control, move to Irvine. But for most people, you’re better off in other cities/communities in South Orange County, Tustin, or beach areas like Newport or Huntington.
Brianna | Irvine, CA