Irvine is a planned community, designed from the ground up by Los Angeles architect William Pereira and developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Pereira originally envisioned a circular city of separate townships (or "villages") centered around the University of California, Irvine. However, when the Irvine Company decided the land was more valuable for farming than building, the site of UCI was moved. The city was redesigned to resemble a necklace, with the villages strung along two main streets, which converge at UCI.
There are over 20 different villages in Irvine, including those currently in development. Each village has been planned with a distinct architectural style, running the range from Tuscan Ranch to California Modern. Westpark features Mediterranean-styled postmodern buildings and monumental rows of date palms, while Wood bridge was built to resemble a New England Cape Cod seaside community. University Hills is a subsidized community for the UCI staff, the first of its kind in the nation.
Irvine is well-regarded for its excellence in public education and its exceptionally low crime rate. Irvine is home to several universities, including UCI and Concordia University, Irvine. Several companies with a focus in technology, such as Blizzard Entertainment and Gateway, Inc., are based in Irvine as well.