UC Santa Barbara

June 26th-29th, 2017

The Region

Located just south of Los Angeles, Orange County is often thought of as simply an extension of the LA area. However, while the two are closely connected, Orange County has its own distinctive history and characteristics.

Agricultural and aerospace industries were key to the establishment of modern Orange County. Crops such as citrus and avocados were grown utilizing fertile soils and the Santa Ana River.  Intersectional collaborations were grown such as the Orange County Interfaith Committee to Aid Farm Workers (OCIC). The development of freeways throughout the 20th century solidified Orange County as a convenient residence for commuting workers in the greater Los Angeles area. Today, alternative transportation options are blossoming.  Visit OC Cycling to learn about some of the vibrant bicycling culture of orange county.  As populations grew, many businesses also took up residence within the county, turning it into a thriving economic region. 

Orange County, California is a world famous destination for leisure. The coastal Mediterranean climate makes for an ideal tourist destination; over forty miles of coastline are home to world-renowned beaches such as Newport, Huntington, and Laguna. Arguably the most notable of the many tourist attractions in the county is Disneyland, which opened in 1955 in Anaheim, and continues to draw visitors from around the world.

Today, Orange County, with 34 incorporated cities, significant coastal exposure, and a total population exceeding 3 million, recognizes the urgency of resilience and sustainability planning. A booming population and economic growth coupled with automobile-oriented transit infrastructure contribute to excessive transit-related carbon emissions, increased storm water runoff directly into oceans, and significant water demands, however, Orange County’s unique innovation, business capital, and cultural diversity create opportunities to implement progressive sustainability solutions.