Two reports by University of California-Irvine researchers show most job growth in two decades in Southern California has come outside of traditional downtown areas and central business districts.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to (economic) development,” said John Hipp, director of the Metropolitan Futures Initiative at UCI’s School of Social Ecology.
The trend identified in the reports appears to apply in Orange County, which grew significantly over the 1997-2014 timeframe of the study without an easily identified downtown area among its 34 cities.
The lack of a dominant city or central business district is helpful in some ways, according to Hipp.
“What works in Irvine might not work in Oxnard,” he said. “These reports uncover those nuances and emerging trends.”
Analysis of the period also showed non-downtown areas with expanding employment tend to be closer to freeways, airports, rail lines, downtown Los Angeles and the coast; and jobs related to business services—such as finance, professional, technical and information— are decreasing in high density areas.