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Westlake Village is a vibrant Daly City residential community nestled along the coast right next to San Francisco.

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    The Historical Evolution of Westlake

    aerial view of westlake apartments - suburban mid-century homes with rolling green coastal hills in the background

    The Westlake District of Daly City is known for its distinctive mid-century architecture and well-planned community design. Yet beneath this orderly surface lies a history as dense and complex as the city's high-population density. Westlake's story isn't just one of the post-war architecture and design boom in suburban America, but also of social and community evolution in Daly City.

    The Post-War Boom
    The creation of Westlake District was led by Henry Doelger, often referred to as the "Henry Ford of Housing." Foreseeing the post-World War II housing boom, developers embarked on creating Westlake as a self-contained suburb — one of the first large-scale housing developments of its kind — that offered affordable housing to first-time homeowners.

    Builders saw potential in the area and, despite skepticism about its distance from San Francisco and its foggy weather, purchased the land in 1945. They transformed the hilly, sandy terrain into the flat, accessible landscape that would support the burgeoning community of Westlake. This vision was rooted in the practical needs of the time—a growing population needing quality housing near major cities like San Francisco but at more accessible prices.

    Iconic Mid-Century Design
    The approach to building Westlake was revolutionary for the period, maximizing the number of homes on available land while ensuring each had enough yard space to provide a sense of privacy and ownership. The architectural style was predominantly mid-century modern, characterized by practical layouts that often featured living spaces upstairs and flexible use spaces like garages or basements downstairs.

    This design efficiently accommodated Daly City's growing population density. The average lot size in Westlake and Daly City remained smaller than much of San Mateo County, with early homes built on lots around 2,500 square feet, expanding only slightly in later developments. These compact, efficient designs allowed Westlake to thrive as a densely populated yet comfortably livable community.

    Evolution Over Time
    Originally developed in the 1950s, Westlake quickly became a model for suburban development, featuring everything residents might need within close proximity, including shops, schools, parks, and other amenities. It was a planned community that epitomized the "city within a city" concept, which was innovative at the time. The Westlake Shopping Center, built as part of the original development, remains a central hub for the community, embodying the district's close-knit identity.

    However, like many other suburban developments of the era, Westlake was initially impacted by racial covenants that restricted home sales to minorities, a common practice before the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This legislation was a pivotal moment that gradually transformed the demographic makeup of the area.

    Westlake Today
    Today, Westlake stands as a vibrant district that has grown beyond its original blueprint to become a diverse and unique part of Daly City. The neighborhood's classic mid-century design is now complemented by a multicultural community that includes a significant Filipino population among others. Westlake continues to be a popular choice for families and individuals alike, drawn by its design charm, strategic location, and community-focused living.

    Come Home to Westlake
    Rediscover the dynamism. diversity, and California cool energy of living in Daly City. Explore all available units online or contact us today for more information or to schedule an apartment or townhome tour. We can't wait to show you around!