Panorama City, California — “Heart of the Valley”
Panorama City is located in the center of the San Fernando Valley. Locally the greater area is known simply as “The Valley”. It is the inland suburban part of the City of Los Angeles. Panorama City is approximately the same as postal zip code 91402, about 3.8 square miles in area. It’s population was 65,492 in the 2000 census. Today the population is probably 75,000 or more.
Panorama City was the first planned community on the West Coast. It was created in 1947 by developer Fritz Burns from the old Panorama Ranch. A central business district surrounded by homes still defines the community. The parks, schools, churches and curved residential streets that intersect in unexpected ways still serve their original purposes. An industrial district runs along the Union Pacific right of way. A shopping center, police and fire facilities, and office buildings have replaced the General Motors Van Nuys assembly plant. A beautiful Panorama High School now sits on the old Carnation laboratory site where Coffeemate was invented.
Panorama City has always been a suburban home for young working families. Veterans returning from the Second World War bought many of the original two-bedroom, one-bath, 900 square foot ranch style homes. Today the community is diverse, with a Latino majority, a significant Filipino population, African-American, Anglo and Armenian minorities, and enough people of the Islamic faith to support a local mosque.
The original developer’s signs proclaimed Panorama City “The Heart Of The Valley”. It’s central location west of the 405 Freeway and north of the railroad line to Ventura still makes it the most conveniently located area in the Valley for transportation. Nearby are the Flyaway bus terminal to LAX, the Burbank airport, the 405, 170, 118, and 5 freeways, and a local Amtrack station. Panorama City is also a Metro bus transit hub. Panorama City’s single family homes remain the lowest-cost houses in the Valley. They are comparable in price to houses in the distant desert areas of Palmdale and Lancaster, and yet are located in safe neighborhoods minutes away from jobs and commuter corridors. The west side of Panorama City has been converted almost entirely to apartments. It is the largest concentration of low-cost apartments in the Valley.