Isla Vista is a one-square-mile plot of land adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara and is home to more than 18,000 residents. While the majority of residents in Isla Vista are UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students, the neighborhood is also home to a large immigrant population. The area is so densely populated that many residents lay claim to fame that we're "the most densely populated square mile West of the Mississippi." Many of Isla Vista's attributes as well as determents can be blamed on this increasingly high population in such a small area.
It's hard to imagine that the Isla Vista of today was once a relatively undesirable and barren plot of land just 10 miles north of Santa Barbara. In the mid-1920's, a small group of land speculators devised a plan to cash in on oil wells that some presumed were under the piece of land.
The group named the windy mesa, Isla Vista, ungrammatical Spanish for "Island View." Some of the road names still exist today, "Pasado," "Del Playa," and "Trigo," names that clearly indicated the connection between Isla Vista and post-earthquake Santa Barbara's Spanish themed renovations. The town was haphazardly divided into small lots and sold to many different remote owners as shares. The original subdivision of Isla Vista would lay the groundwork for the developers that would enter once the University moved next to Isla Vista.
While oil was never discovered in any large supply, World War Two provided an excellent opportunity for Santa Barbara's costal location to contribute to the war effort. A base was constructed on the space next to Isla Vista and once the war ended the 400 acre space was sold to the University of California for the new campus of Santa Barbara College, a liberal arts college...