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.
The 2010 U.S. census counted 56,735 residents in the 3.68-square-mile Westwood neighborhood—or 13,036 people per square mile, an average population density for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 52,041. The median age for residents was 27, considered young for the city; the percentages of residents aged 19 to 34 was among the county’s highest.
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.
Occidental Petroleum has its headquarters in Westwood. Also located in the area is the headquarters for the Fox Sports Networks regional sports networks, as well as several other Fox-owned networks, including Fox Deportes and Fox College Sports.
Built by the Janss Investment Company, the Westwood Village shopping district, which opened in 1929, retained its small-village atmosphere even after the San Diego Freeway came through the area in the 1950s and high-rise office towers went up around it in the following decades. However, much of this construction was planned around the never-built Beverly Hills Freeway; in combination with a perceived parking shortage at UCLA, high-density development in Westwood has created some of the worst traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Even with the opening of numerous municipal parking structures in the 1990s and 2000s (decade), finding a parking spot in Westwood Village is still a notoriously difficult task. With the proximity of Westwood’s towering business area to its shops that line the streets around UCLA, parking and traffic issues dominate local planning debates.
Some landmark buildings still remain from the early years of Westwood Village including the first building erected in the village, the Janss Investment Company Building (Janss Dome) with its aqua and white zig-zag patterned dome and gold leafing. Other buildings listed as Historic-Cultural Monuments include the Fox and Bruin Theaters and the Ralphs Grocery Store building.
Westwood Village is within walking distance of the UCLA campus. There is a multitude of culturally-based restaurants condensed into this small area, so that students and Westwood visitors can choose from a variety of food options, including Indian, Chinese, Thai, American, Italian, Persian, Greek, Korean, Japanese, and Mexican.