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Ann Arbor

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Ann Arbor has it all: the University of Michigan, great shopping, bars and restaurants and amazing concert venues. It also has a vitality that few college towns across the country can boast. It's the kind of city that draws in undergrads and then keeps them for good.

Toss a rock into the air and it'd be hard not to hit a cafe, bistro, or high-tech startup. From its ever-thriving summer Art Fair to its venerable Film Festival, the city consistently tops national quality of life surveys --Forbes, Money/CNN, Sperlings, the list goes on and on. Its school system is first rate, green spaces dominate the landscape and nearly 70% of the population holds a college degree. This small but mighty city is Michigan's leader in innovation.

Ann Arbor Features

From cart to cafe: The evolution of two local food trucks

Though the local food cart movement still remains confined to Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor, that enterprise has seeded the city with two successful brick and mortar businesses: The Lunch Room and eat. Concentrate gets the skinny on how these food entrepreneurs made the leap from cart to café.

What a 21st-Century Washtenaw Ave. should look like

Ann Arbor's most congested corridor, Washtenaw Avenue, is now geared to sprawling strip malls and parking lots. It's the antithesis of a community-building, pedestrian-friendly space. Nathan Voght, an economic development specialist with Washtenaw County, opines on why creating "places" is key to transforming the corridor and its local economy.

The Yellow Barn: The challenge of maintaining a community space in Ann Arbor

For the last seven years the Yellow Barn has provided a much-needed venue for Ann Arbor's creative community, giving small groups and organizations an inexpensive space to gather and perform. But maintaining it has proved difficult in a city that offers few other similar options.

Keeping music education within reach

Taking the summer off can mean a loss of ability for young musicians. But not everyone can afford to have their parents send them to band camp. Longtime Ann Arbor teacher Deborah Katz established the Scarlett Summer Music Academy to make music education available to kids who might miss out.

Cool Jobs: Sharon Que, sculptor and violin restorer

Vibrant communities allow for creative reinvention. Case in point: Ann Arborite Sharon Que. A former model-maker at General Motors, Que decided to leave the auto industry and learn the art of violin restoration. Seven years later she's got her own studio, and a reputation as both a top notch restorer and sculptor.
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