Rising Population Weighs Down Irvine Lifestyle


Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Irvine used to be home to sprawling space filled with lima bean and strawberry farms, but in recent years, the city has undeniably changed, with houses rising over barren landscapes, ‘for sale’ signs lining streets and new neighborhoods purchased even before construction.

As of 2016, Irvine had a population of 45,021 and counting, according to the Orange County Register.  Low crime rates, famed K-12 education, a family-friendly environment and quick access to stores, parks and pools have attracted a growing number of residents.  The Irvine Company has been constructing and renovating many structures to enhance the city’s appeal. One such project is the $30 million renovation of the Woodbridge Center which involves adding new shops to expand its communal setting. In addition, the company has built a new amphitheater near the Great Park in hopes of creating jobs in the area and filling the cultural gap left by the closure of Irvine Meadows.

Some claim that the new amphitheater, $30 million infrastructure renovation deal and 21 percent population increase of Irvine residents are contributing to productivity and diversity.  However, many residents feel that these renovations have been completed with the purpose of increasing Irvine’s population, which could economically benefit the Irvine Company at the expense of lowering the quality of life for those already living in the city. The Irvine Company is privately owned by Donald Bren, who, according to Forbes, is the wealthiest real-estate developer in the U.S.

Woodbridge High students have experienced the negative result of this growth in the form of congested hallways, large class sizes and long lines. In the midst of such rapid growth, it is important to realize every cup has its brim: such broad expansion may lead to overpopulation, endangering the educational experiences of students in Irvine.

The current student population of 2,460 students is one of the largest the school has seen in years. An increase in the size of the student body has come about as a result of the growth of the city as a whole. Many speculate that these changes may result in a less effective learning environment for students.

Without the hiring of additional teachers, class sizes will inevitably increase due to the influx of Irvine residents, which could mean less one-on-one time between teachers and students. According to TeachThought, when students have more interaction with teachers, it significantly boosts the amount of material they retain. Furthermore, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) states that students improve academically and participate more in class when they are in a learning setting with a smaller class size.

Students and parents have already felt the effects of overcrowded parking lots. The addition of more students would decrease the already dwindling parking spaces available for Woodbridge High students.

If measures are not taken to counteract or supplement the growing population in Irvine, all residents, students and adults alike, will feel the effects of a decrease in the quality of life.