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Organization Title
Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
1984 to 2008 TIME SERIES
Newhall-Valencia, Los Angeles County

Land use change in the Newhall-Valencia area, Los Angeles County, 1984-2008

In this Image

Changes in this area are predominantly conversions from native vegetation and grasslands (brown) to urban (red). Commercial, residential, and infrastructure uses, such as a landfill, comprise most of the development. Much of the farmland (various shades of green) which occupies the valley in earlier years has gone out of production or has been urbanized.  The white area is within Angeles National Forest and is not mapped.  Information on these changes was gathered from air photos, local comments, and field reconnaissance. the mapped area is just over 58,200 acres in size.

The Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program has documented urbanization of just under 48,400 acres in Los Angeles County between 1984 and 2008.  More than 10,000 acres of the urbanization is depicted in the image above.

A brief history of the Newhall-Valencia area

The communities in this image are located in the Santa Clarita Valley, approximately 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.   The area was once the center of the Newhall Land and Farming Company's 143,000 acre operation, and has been used for grazing, farming, mineral and oil extraction since the 1880's.  The Company came about as Henry Mayo Newhall, a successful auctioneer and investor, passed the land to his sons upon his death in 1882.

By the late 1950s, urban development began moving northward into the Santa Clarita Valley. The Newhall family understood that their farming operations and cost of doing business would be increasingly compromised by surrounding development. Members of the Newhall family chose to build a "new town," a balanced community named Valencia for the oranges grown on the ranch. The Valencia Master Plan was drafted in the early 1960s with the creative guidance of the renowned urban planner Victor Gruen.  The Newhall Land and Farming Company has undergone a number of organizational changes since then, and is now a component of LandSource Communities Development LLC. 

In 1988, the City of Santa Clarita was incorporated over much of the image area. It is now the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County, with a population of over 176,000 in 2008.