The view is good from the top

Irvine’s park system has been named No. 1 in California and No. 4 in the United States by the Trust for Public Land – for the second consecutive year.

Ask Kate Noble about parks and she’ll tell you about her morning walks and birthday parties and watching her girls gain confidence on the playground.

“Irvine’s parks make it fun to be outside,” she says during a family picnic at Turtle Rock Community Park. “I think they’re the best.”

That sentiment was recently verified by the Trust for Public Land, or TPL, which named Irvine’s park system No. 1 in California – and No. 4 in the U.S.

Irvine’s 300+ parks were created through a decades-long partnership between Irvine Company and the city of Irvine, preserving one-third of the city as parks and open space – three times the national average.

As a result, more than 9 of every 10 residents live within a 10-minute walk, according to TPL’s annual ParkScore Index.

In addition, Irvine’s investment in parks leads the nation, providing residents with resort-like pools, sports courts, athletic fields and other amenities.

That investment, Mayor Farah N. Khan says, is what makes Irvine “a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

In fact, the city’s park system is still growing – in all directions. In the north, plans for a 700-acre Gateway Preserve will connect residents to the local mountains, along with major extensions of the Jeffrey Open Space Trail.

In the south, the city is exploring new trails starting near Los Olivos Community Park that would connect all the way to Laguna Coast and Crystal Cove State Park.

As Will Klein, TPL’s associate director of parks research, puts it: “Irvine’s Master Plan positioned it to be a great park city. And Irvine’s commitment to parks has only continued to grow over the years.”

Friendlier, fitter and happier

New research accompanying TPL’s ParkScore shows that residents living near the nation’s best parks tend to be friendlier, fitter and happier.

Statistically, they are 21% more likely to be physically active and 26% more likely to form friendships at parks, which improve physical and mental health, according to data in “The Power of Parks to Strengthen Community.”

“Irvine’s Master Plan positioned it to be a great park city. And Irvine’s commitment to parks has only continued to grow over the years.”

Will Klein, TPL’s associate director of parks research

“Parks are one of the most powerful public health tools we have in our communities,” Klein says, adding, “Irvine has a great park system and is doing a lot of things right.”

Kate Noble says she does feel healthier after a day at the park.

“Just look at the trees and plants and flowers,” she says. “Everything is so beautiful and clean. I feel relaxed and calm whenever we’re here.”

These good feelings that Irvine residents feel are not by chance, according to community planning expert Alan Hess, who lives in Irvine.

“Making green oases a part of daily life in Irvine was master planned from the start and dutifully maintained in the decades since,” he says. “They are now a permanent part of Irvine that makes it distinctive.”

Kate Noble says Irvine’s parks make it fun for the whole family to be outside.

Preserving one‑third of the city for open space

Major Irvine Company land dedications