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Creating a multimodal city requires more than less cars

The challenge to building a city that truly offers alternative transportation amenities means reconciling some difficult relationships. CityLab sums up the issues with transitioning to a multimodal community.


"Supporting many modes requires including multiple actors in the planning process, all with different priorities and preferences. More travel choices also means private entrepreneurs will take the lead on some services normally offered by the public sector: from taxi or bus services to parking management to goods movement. And with the benefits of redefining and reallocating street space in a multi-modal system come new political problems in terms of fighting for that space, too."

Read the rest here.

U-M professor's graphic novel to debut as film at Sundance

U-M School of Art and Design professor Phoebe Gloeckner made a splash in 2002 with her lauded graphic novel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Now she's poised to find an even bigger audience as the film adaptation, starring Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, is set to debut at next week's Sundance Film Festival


" Over the years, I've been approached by three different directors about turning the book into a film but I was never comfortable with the vision that they presented. Maybe it was because I had my own vision for a film version. Then, Marielle Heller approached me about creating a play. I thought that was so insane and couldn't imagine it whatsoever, so I said yes. Over the last eight years, as she was researching and writing, we developed a strong relationship and I grew to trust her. So when she approached me about turning the play into a film, I said yes."

Read the rest here.  Watch an interview here.
Catch the Sundance listing here.


Top U.S. metros have an over supply of parking spaces

Just because you ate doesn't means we've solved world hunger. Just because it snows doesn't mean global warming isn't happening. Just because you can't find a parking space doesn't mean there aren't enough. In fact, research shows that the top 27 U.S. metro regions are have a nearly 65 percent over supply.


Some new research reminds us just how oversupplied parking really tends to be in American metro areas: in a word, enormously. Rachel Weinberger and Joshua Karlin-Resnick of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates analyzed parking studies of 27 mixed-use districts across the United States and found "parking was universally oversupplied, in many cases quite significantly." On average across the cases, parking supply exceeded demand by 65 percent.

Read the rest here.

U-M grads seeks to promote social entrepreneurship with Arbor Brothers

From the University of Michigan to Teach For America to Wall Street, a pair of U-M alums get together for a beer at Ashley's and realize that they still wan't to make the world a better place. Enter Arbor Brothers, a part-time philanthropic organization that helps facilitate social entrpreneurship.


"While maintaining their day jobs, the two started with a few pilot projects. They spent 100 hours with Nick Ehrmann, then a Ph.D. student at Princeton University, who founded Blue Engine, a nonprofit that places teaching assistants in public high schools in New York City. They worked with Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that empowers women and minority entrepreneurs in culinary workforce programs, a loan package that financed a move to a full-time kitchen. Then in September 2010, they quit their jobs and focused all their efforts on Arbor Brothers."

Read the rest here.

Why Ann Arbor gets shout outs on Parks And Recreation

So, that's why! Good to know the show's writers didn't just close their eyes and jab their finger at a map. Always nice to get some hometown love, eh?


"You may wonder why the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is mentioned so frequently on Parks and Recreation. The answer for that is simple. Aside from Ann Arbor being a close distance from fictional Pawnee, Indiana,  Executive Producer Michael Schur was born in the city. He was later raised in West Hartford, Connecticut. The city of Pawnee was founded in 1817, which is when the University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor was also founded. Ann Arbor is where Ann and Chris move to during season six."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor GenZ scooter makes a small splash at CES

Alternative personal transportation that cost pennies to fuel were on display at CES in Las Vegas and Ann Arbor was in the house, with the GenZ electric scooter.


"Key specs of the GenZe include a seven-inch touch screen display and a removable, rechargeable battery that can be charged at any 110v outlet. The vehicle tops out at 30 mph and can travel 30 miles on a full charge. While license requirements may vary by state, most will not require a full motorcycle license for operation. Built domestically in Ann Arbor, MI, the product will launch in March 2015 in California and Oregon."

Read the rest here.

Local startups use crowd funding to get a leg up

Crains offers a step-by-step primer on how local startups used crowd funding to get their businesses off the ground.


"Locally, cousins Lucy Carnaghi and Molly Mitchell used Kickstarter last year to raise the final $19,000 they needed to open Rose's Fine Food on East Jefferson Avenue. And Avegant Corp., an Ann Arbor-based startup, raised $1.5 million to produce a video headset called Glyph. 

But donors don't own any part of the business, and there is little to no recourse for them if a company fails to send the promised rewards. Kickstarter is littered with failures."

Read the rest here.

Conquer the Cold commuting pulls in record number of participants

Now entering its third year, Ann Arbor's getDowntown commuter challenge has registered more than 500 people to commit to winter weather non-automotive commutes in the month of January.

According to getDowntown's Business Services Director Nancy Shore the current stats are:

413 people have logged at least 1 commute so far
2,885 commutes have been logged in total
Most popular types of commutes logged: Walk, Walk & Bus.

Check out the photo documentation of getDowntown's Facebook page. And check out the inspirational comics drawn by local artist Bruce Worden here

Mayor Taylor's commitment to art has Interlochen roots

Ann Arbor's new mayor has made his support of public art and the arts in general very clear. Interlochen, the renown arts education institution, believes it played an important role in the mayor's formative years.


"While arts and politics may not seem a natural match, Taylor says his experiences in the arts have helped him in his years in elected office. “I see Interlochen’s influence with both skills and substance. Substantively, it gave me an appreciation for the arts and for culture, which are crucial to place-making and successful city planning. On the skills side, the training I had as a singer and actor helps with stage presence and public speaking."

Read the rest here.

Zingerman's and laboratory mice meet in bacteria study

Apparently researchers at U-M will spare no expense in their quest for knowledge. Even if it means feeding mice $6 loaves of bread.


"As it turns out, the Zingerman's diet appears to have fueled the growth of the mannans-consuming B. thetaiotaomicrons — more so than other bacteria that lacked that ability to process mannans."

Read the rest here.

Hackathon hits this weekend

For the 36 hours this weekend, students will immerse themselves in a world of programming codes and junk food in hopes of winning the nation's largest programming marathon with an incredible new product or application. Expect the air to be filled with excitement and B.O.


"According to the University of Michigan Engineering Department, the event is the largest student-run hackathon in the country. In 2014, the school says MHacks attracted over 1,200 college and high school students from 100 schools."

Read the and/or listen to the rest here.


U-M Solar Car team race in Abu-Dhabi this week

Can U-M solar car designers and racers make it six for six? With a quintet of first place wins, Abu Dahbi offers them their latest chance to impress.


"The Michigan-Abu Dhabi team will drive the Quantum, the Ann Arbor university's vehicle that won its fifth national title in a row last year at the American Solar Challenge competition.

Read more here.

Michigan needs more millennials

For any who reads this publication, statements like these should come as no surprise. We've been saying this since we started more than five years ago. But it's nice to see local editorialists catch up.


Of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country, only Cleveland has a smaller percentage of millennials than Detroit, said Kurt Metzger, a demographics expert who retired last year as head of Data Driven Detroit.

Meanwhile metro Detroit has the third-highest percentage of baby boomers to total population among the largest metro areas, he said.

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor considered a top dining destination

Move over Chicago, the small but epicurious town of Ann Arbor is looking to steal some of your restaurant thunder. Or so says a writer at MainStreet Newspapers Inc.


"Traditional Ethiopian food, a Turkish café and an Irish Pub are just a few of the dining experiences awaiting visitors to Ann Arbor, Mich., one of the top food towns in the Midwest. You can taste food from around the world in the charming town of Ann Arbor. With more than 300 restaurants, Ann Arbor offers something for everyone from friends looking for a fun spot to dinner to family gatherings to couples out for a romantic meal."

Read the rest here.

Former entrepreneur joins SPARK to assist new startups

Though it meant a pay cut, entrepreneur Bill Mayer has settled in as the vice president of entrepreneur services at Ann Arbor SPARK. The Freep chatted with him about his job.


Q: OK. Let's say, I'm just a guy who just got laid off from the line, and I decide I have the next best product, next great idea — and I want to start my own business. How do I build my network and surround myself with smart people?
A: Well, so that's why places like SPARK, TechTown and Automation Alley exist. They tend to be hubs for entrepreneurial activity. If you are an entrepreneur, like entrepreneurship, you are kind-of a tech junkie, you work for a start-up, you just want to see what this entrepreneurship is all about, come to a SPARK event. There are like-minded people here. If we have have 100 people at an event, and you don't walk away with 15 business cards, it's bad on you. We try to make it easy. And in the Midwest, we tend to be a pretty friendly bunch. One person will introduce you to three, each of those people will introduce you to three more.

Read the rest here.
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