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Westwood is a commercial and residential neighborhood in the northern central portion of the Westside region of Los Angeles, California. It is the home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The 2000 census found that the forty-seven thousand people living in the neighborhood were generally young and moderately diverse ethnically, with a generally high level of income and education.
The neighborhood was developed after 1919, with a new campus of the University of California being built and opened in 1926. Other attractions besides the UCLA campus include Westwood Village, with its historic motion picture theaters, restaurants and shopping, Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery and the Hammer Museum. Holmby Hills is considered one of the wealthiest residential areas in Los Angeles, and the Geffen Playhouse attracts theater-goers. A Mormon temple is also prominent.
There are several elementary schools and one middle school in the neighborhood.
Century City is a 176-acre (71.2 ha) neighborhood and business district in Los Angeles’ Westside. Outside of Downtown Los Angeles, Century City is one of the metropolitan area’s most prominent employment centers, and its skyscrapers form a distinctive skyline on the Westside.
The district was developed on the former backlot of film studio 20th Century Fox, and its first building was opened in 1963. There are two private schools, but no public schools in the neighborhood. Important to the economy are the Westfield Century City shopping center, business towers, and Fox Studios.
Westwood Village was created by the Janss Investment Company, run by Harold and Edwin Janss and their father, Peter, in the late 1920s as an autonomous shopping district and headquarters of the Janss Company.
By 1999, the Village was considered to be upscale economically, and today it houses many small and large shops and restaurants. Though some of the restaurants are independently owned, most of the Westwood’s establishments are now chain stores. Historically, independent merchants have blamed poor sales on lack of parking; a city-owned garage, on Broxton Ave, provides two hours of free parking for patrons entering before 6 pm, and $3 flat rate parking from 6 pm to close (typically midnight on weeknights and 3 am on weekends). Parking is still cited as a problem.
In 1956, Spyros Skouras (1893-1971), who served as the President of 20th Century Fox from 1942-62, and his nephew-in-law Edmond Herrscher (died 1983), an attorney sometimes known as “the father of Century City,” decided to repurpose the land for real estate development. The following year, in 1957, they commissioned a master-plan development from Welton Becket Associates, which was unveiled at a major press event on the “western” backlot later that year.
In 1961, after Fox suffered a string of expensive flops, culminating with the financial strain put on the studio by the very expensive production of Cleopatra, the film studio sold about 180 acres (0.73 km2) to developer William Zeckendorf and Aluminum Co. of America, also known as Alcoa, for US$300 million (US$2.4 billion in 2014’s money). Herrscher had encouraged his uncle-in-law to borrow money instead, but once Skouras refused, he was out of the picture.
The new owners conceived Century City as “a city within a city”. In 1963, the first building, Gateway West Building, was completed. The next year, in 1964, Minoru Yamasaki designed the Century Plaza Hotel. Five years later, in 1969, architects Anthony J. Lumsden and César Pelli designed the Century City Medical Plaza.
The neighborhood was considered moderately diverse ethnically, with a high percentage of Asians and of whites. The breakdown was whites, 62.9%; Asians, 23.1%; Latinos, 7.0%; blacks, 2.0%; and others, 4.9%. Iran (23.5%) and Taiwan (7.3%) were the most common places of birth for the 31.3% of the residents who were born abroad—about the same percentage as in the city at large.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $68,716, a high figure for Los Angeles. The percentages of households that earned $125,000 yearly and higher or that earned $20,000 or less were high for Los Angeles County. The average household size of two people was low for Los Angeles. Renters occupied 64.1% of the housing stock and house- or apartment owners held 35.9%. The percentages of never-married men and women were among the county’s highest. In 2000 there were 309 families headed by single parents, a low percentage for the city. Five percent of the population had served in the military, a low figure for both the city and the county.
According to the Westwood Neighborhood Council, the Westwood Homeowners Association, and the Los Angeles Times’ Mapping L.A. project, Westwood’s street and other boundaries are north, Sunset Boulevard; east, Beverly Hills city limits (to include the Los Angeles Country Club); south, Santa Monica Boulevard; and west, the San Diego Freeway (excluding the federal Veterans Administration grounds).
Westwood is flanked on the north by Beverly Crest, on the east by Beverly Hills, on the southeast by Century City, on the south by West Los Angeles, on the west by Veterans Administration and Brentwood and on the northwest by Bel-Air. The southern portion of Holmby Hills is also part of the Westwood district.
According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Century City is bordered on the northeast and east by Beverly Hills, on the southeast and south by Cheviot Hills, on the southwest and west by West Los Angeles and on the northwest by Westwood.
Sixty-six percent of Westwood residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high figure for both the city and the county. The percentages of residents of that age with a master’s degree or higher was the third-highest in the county.
The Los Angeles Unified School District operates public schools.
Schools in Westwood are:
- Fairburn Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 1403 Fairburn Avenue
- Warner Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 615 Holmby Avenue
- Sinai Akiba Academy, private elementary, 10400 Wilshire Boulevard
- Saint Paul the Apostle, private elementary, 1536 Selby Avenue
- Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School, LAUSD, 1660 Selby Avenue
The zoned senior high school is University High School in West Los Angeles.
UCLA Lab School Corinne A. Seeds Campus, formerly the Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School and renamed in 2009, is the University of California, Los Angeles laboratory school.
Fifty-five percent of Century City residents aged 25 or over had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high figure for Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Unified School District is the school district of Century City.
Three private schools are located within the Century City neighborhood — VINCI Academy Daycare & Preschool, at 1940 Century Park East; Lycée Français de Los Angeles, at 10361 Pico Boulevard; and Temple Isaiah Preschool and Kindergarten, at 10345 West PIco Boulevard.