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Isla Vista is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 18,344.

It is a census-designated place and beachside community west of the University of California, Santa Barbara, on a flat plateau about 30 feet in elevation, separated from the beach by a bluff. Many paths connect the town to the beach. In 1970, during the Vietnam War, Isla Vista gained notoriety with the burning of the Bank of America by student protesters and the death of student Kevin Moran at the hands of local law enforcement. Today, Isla Vista continues to be plagued by the stigma of a rowdy young student population whose infamous weekend parties on Del Playa have gained something of an international reputation, especially the annual Halloween party. Isla Vista is one of the lower-priced housing markets on the south coast of Santa Barbara county, which has some of the highest housing prices in the United States (the mean home price in Santa Barbara, ten miles east, passed $1,000,000 in June 2004); this situation has resulted in the student population sharing densely packed housing with a very poor working Hispanic population. Since Isla Vista has not been annexed by either Goleta and Santa Barbara, remaining unincorporated, only County funds are available for civic projects.

In the recent incorporation of Goleta, inland to the north and up the coast to the west, Isla Vista was deliberately excluded. While no official reason for the drawing of the Goleta boundaries was given, a plausible explanation was that the transient student residents would be unlikely to vote for incorporation of a town in which they were unlikely to have a vested interest.

Isla Vista has more bars per capita than permitted by local law, but new applications to serve alcohol continue to be honored by the county government. Isla Vista is also home to one of the most successful housing cooperatives in the State of California. Outside the co-op housing, Isla Vista is notorious for its "slumlords", exorbitant per-month rents and poor parking availability.

Isla Vista enjoys a Mediterranean climate and often has slightly less precipitation than either Santa Barbara or the adjacent community of Goleta. Isla Vista is located on a south-facing portion of the Santa Barbara County coast, between two small peninsulas, Coal Oil Point and Campus Point, in view of the Channel Islands. During El Niņo years, precipitation in Isla Vista can be excessive and potentially dangerous. Homes and apartments built on the south side of Del Playa, most popular with students due to their direct ocean views and constant party atmosphere, are in danger of collapse, since they are built on quickly-eroding bluffs some sixty feet above the relentless Pacific Ocean. Recent errosion has exposed foundation supports in several of the properties closest to the university campus.

Zip Code 93117


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Web Sites and Links

IV LeagueAll things Isla Vista with a restaurant guide, chat board and things to do. Aimed at college students.
UCSB Bookstore Live Video FeedThree cameras showing entrance of the UCSB Bookstore, an in-store view, and a view of nearby lagoon and ocean.
Woodstock's PizzaServing UCSB. Offers coupons, menu, and job information.

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