The Northern Sphere Story

In the 1960s, Irvine Company began to craft the Irvine Master Plan – the long-term blueprint for the all-new city of Irvine.  Since then, this plan has guided Irvine’s 24 villages and the preservation of more than one-third of the city as open space.  It remains the foundation of future planning in Irvine.

The Northern Sphere Planning Area is a key component of the Master Plan.

Years ago, city leaders determined the importance of annexing Northern Sphere land so that the city alone controlled future land uses in this very special part of Irvine.

In 2002, after years of collaboration between Irvine Company, the city and interested residents, community plans for Irvine’s Northern Sphere were approved.  Today, the Northern Sphere includes the villages of Portola Springs, Orchard Hills, Woodbury, Cypress Village, Eastwood and Stonegate.  Like the villages before them, each of these benefited from the time-proven principles of Irvine’s Master Plan.

The Northern Sphere includes 550,000 square feet of community and neighborhood retail space.  It’s home to valued shops like the Trader Joe’s at Woodbury and Zov’s Bistro at Orchard Hills.

Its seven schools include Jeffrey Trail Middle School, Woodbury Elementary, Cypress Village Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, Portola Springs Elementary, Stonegate Elementary and Irvine’s newest – Loma Ridge Elementary, which opened in 2019.  All are a part of the Irvine Unified School District, which ranks among the top in California.

Immediately to the east is the Northern Open Space Preserve.  This 20,000-acre preserve includes some of California’s most beautiful lands, including Limestone Canyon’s Sinks – a 40-million-year-old geological formation often called Irvine’s mini-Grand Canyon.  These lands were set aside for permanent preservation as part of the Irvine Master Plan, and nearby residents enjoy easy access through miles of trails.

Additionally, more than 4,600 acres, or nearly 60% of the Northern Sphere, were preserved as permanently protected open space, parks and recreation areas for residents to enjoy.