The Planned City of Eden
In 1864 when James Irvine bought 110,000 acres of land in what is now Orange County, he most likely had no idea that one day the city named after himself would become a modern day garden of Eden — only better.
An article titled “10 Great Reasons to Resent Irvine” is oddly filled with reasons to love Irvine (clever). The article views The Irvine Company’s plans to develop the city of Irvine, “as God saw the void at the beginning of Genesis.” A truer word was never spoken.
In a world full of private real estate companies, only The Irvine Company has the courage to compare itself to God. When asked whether he was jealous of The Irvine Company’s accomplishments, God calmly replied, “No,” as he grilled barbecue chicken in one of the lushly landscaped poolside barbecue areas next to fabulous spas in his tropical, cosmopolitan West Park locale apartment complex, Villa Coronado.
“The Irvine Company has managed to do something I was never able to do — commodify nature. Adam and Eve never paid me rent,” said Yahweh, “those lazy fuckers.”
The results of the Irvine Ranch Master Plan speak for themselves. Nature grows bountifully through the city with hundreds of parks, manicured tree lines and artificial lakes. For example, the beloved Aldrich Park in the middle of UC Irvine — the grassy filling to the cement donut that is Ring Mall — is a perfect representation of what nature would look like if it grew in perfect circles.
As a perfected and commodified modern day version of Eden, Irvine represents the creative possibilities of organic growth by making sure everything looks and feels the same. Gone are the days when residents would get lost on meandering pathways that were carved out by the elements. The grid-style street system in Irvine means you just have to make three right turns and you’re back where you started (next to that beige house).
The original Garden of Eden didn’t have the variety and choice that Irvine now offers residents and visitors. In Eden, you only had one floor plan to choose from. It was either grass and fruit trees or nothing at all. But in Irvine, residents are free to choose from over five different floor plans and seven different shades of beige (courtesy of The Irvine Company).
Even the population of Irvine reflects the diversity of their landscape with all different kinds of Caucasian and Asian people. Families migrate to Irvine for the good schools but stay for all the different colors. In Eden, there were only two types of residents — two naked white people and a snake.
Also, unlike Eden, Irvine is much safer. According to FBI statistics, Irvine is the safest city in the nation with a population over 100,000. Eden only had two residents and both were corrupted. That’s a 100 percent crime rate.
The key to safety in Irvine is the abundance of gated communities. Gates keep out the others and the unwanted. They stand as a symbol of the amount of wealth Irvine residents have and how they will bar themselves in to keep others out. Some might say that gates are symbolic of a bubble created around the city of Irvine that insulates them from the outside world — preventing residents from understanding a world outside of planned communities and stucco shopping plazas. Those people are just poor.
In many ways, Irvine is better than Eden because The Irvine Company was smart enough to leave out the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge. By creating a modern-day paradise, The Irvine Company has created the world before the fall of man where knowledge was just stupid. In Irvine, residents don’t have to comprehend good and evil, they just have to know that Chipotle is real Mexican food and that the Irvine Spectrum really only has a couple of colors.