MISSION VIEJO: A GREAT PLACE TO CALL HOME
Mission Viejo (/viˈeɪhoʊ/ vee-AY-hoh; corruption of Misión Vieja, Spanish for "Old Mission") is a commuter city in the Saddleback Valley in Orange County, California, United States. Mission Viejo is considered one of the largest master-planned communities ever built under a single project in the United States and is rivaled only by Highlands Ranch in size. Its population as of 2020 was 93,653.
Mission Viejo is suburban in nature and culture, and consists of residential properties, offices and businesses. The city is noted for its tree-lined neighborhoods, receiving recognition from the National Arbor Day Foundation. The city's name is a reference to Rancho Mission Viejo, a large Spanish land grant from which the community was founded. Donald Bren, an urban planner who later became the president of the Irvine Company, drafted a master plan which placed roads in the valleys and houses on the hills, and contoured to the geography of the area. The plan worked, and by 1980 much of the city of Mission Viejo was completed. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, houses in Mission Viejo were in such high demand that housing tracts often sold out before construction even began on them. The houses and shopping centers in the city are almost uniformly designed in a Spanish mission style, with "adobe"-like stucco walls and barrel-tile roofs. Many point to Mission Viejo as the first and largest manifestation of Bren's obsession with Spanish architecture. Bren's company was also the creator of the developments in Irvine and Newport Beach.
The United States Census Bureau defines an urban area of Orange County cities not part of Los Angeles's urban area with Mission Viejo as the principal city: the Mission Viejo–Lake Forest–Laguna Niguel, CA urban area had a population of 646,843 as of the 2020 census, ranked 65th in the United States.