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Aut Bar voted Ann Arbor's best neighborhood bar

The outdoor courtyard seating alone made this a slum dunk. But there's so much more!

Excerpt:

"For the outdoor courtyard seating alone this one"Since we are talking about neighborhood bars, it certainly is not uncommon that neighborhoods have a particular political affiliation," said Orr. "You go to a Chicago neighborhood bar and there will be a certain political affiliation to it. Not that the LGBT community is completely monolithic in its beliefs, but we do believe in supporting the folks who are willing to step out and fight for our rights. So certainly in terms of political work for individual politicians, we have worked a lot in that way and we believe, for the most part, our clientele – our neighborhood, as it were – stands by us on it and understands why we do what we do." was a slum dunk."

Read the rest here.
 

Washington Monthly names U-M among 14 best universities in country

Ivy League, shmivey league. State schools are where it's at for world-class education. Or so say the scholars at The Washington Monthly.

Excerpt:

"The list is heavy on campuses from the University of California system, but we can't say we blame them. The University of Texas at Austin doesn't make the cut, but Texas A&M does, ranking ahead of both Harvard and Stanford. Compared to the U.S. News & World Report ranking, which the top 20 is entirely private schools, Washington Monthly's is mostly state universities. Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Yale all fail to even crack the top 50."

Read the rest here.

See the rankings here.
 

Pinkerton picks Ann Arbor as its HQ

Now you can apply to Pinkerton man in Ann Arbor. That's right, the security company that once protected Abraham Lincoln (but not on that fateful night) and chased Jesse James has come to town.

Excerpt:

"Pinkerton men tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang and pursued Jesse James. Pinkerton agents were also a part of the historic Battle of the Overpass at the Ford River Rouge Plant in 1937.

Now, the 164-year-old security and risk management company is moving its global headquarters from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, Michigan."

Read / Listen the rest here.

Pinkerton announcement here.
 

Automated cars to be implemented by 2021?

We at Concentrate predicted this technology would be game-changing back in 2006, when few believed driverless cars would ever become a reality.  If only we could have made some bets...

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan is working with carmakers on technology that would let vehicles talk to each other, all designed to reduce traffic congestion and automate cruise control and smooth out stop-and-go driving.

The hope is an automated car system will be developed and implemented by 2021. The system will be developed and tested in Ann Arbor, Mich., the location of the university, which is reportedly testing a pilot program."

Read the rest here.

More on this here. And here.


 

An ode to Ann Arbor's The Rock

At the corner of Washtenaw and Hill someone or ones make their mark - every day, for nearly the last 65 years.

Excerpt:

"While the multitude of writing it has accumulated over the years hasn’t lent it a lot of physical depth — in reality, the paint covering the Rock is only a few inches thick, as found by a Daily reporter who drilled through the paint in 2010 — its significance as a campus tradition both for students and alumni, as well as local residents, is uncontested."

Read the rest here.
 

Head of AATA Michael Ford tapped to head RTA

Inch by inch the Regional Transit Authority creeps into being, ever-so slowly moving toward the development of a regional public transportation system. Someday. Maybe. Hopefully. Yeah, we're cynical.

Excerpt:

"Ford faces many challenges in an area that has resisted regional transportation for decades. They include assembling a staff with a shoestring budget, helping to better coordinate services among the region’s transit providers and convincing voters in Macomb, Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties that a property tax hike is needed to fund RTA operations and the Bus Rapid Transit project up Woodward from Detroit to Pontiac."

Read the rest here

 

Hohokum video game debuts with Ghostly International's soundtrack

Hohokum is game and music album wrapped up in one.

Excerpt:

"It's somewhere between drawing and flying a kite," artist Richard Hogg tells me.

It's hard to explain what  Hohokum  is, but Hogg's description might just be the most apt. Launching today for the PlayStation 4 and Vita,  Hohokum  is a weird and wonderful world developed by British studio Honeyslug with Hogg providing whimsical, colorful art....

The music also plays a surprisingly large part in the experience. Your actions help bring each level to life, filling them with color and movement. But they also add more layers to the sound, with the soundtrack growing in depth the more you explore. And the Ghostly-provided tunes — some of which were composed specifically for the game — are a perfect fit..."

More here.

Biking has $668M economic impact on state, MDOT study says

Biking is going the distance in Michigan, in terms of economic and health benefits, tourism, and other outcomes, according to a recent study.

Excerpt:

"Bicycle riding in Michigan has an estimated $668 million economic benefit annually for  the state, according to a study released Thursday from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The benefit  comes from several factors, including sales of bikes and related equipment, money spent for tourism and reduced health care costs. The study also found that 39 percent of Michigan households reported using a bicycle for transportation last year...

The study also focused on how bikes are used in five Michigan communities...

In Ann Arbor, for example, people were more concerned about commuting and transportation..."

More here.

Ann Arbor a top college town for retirees

Interestingly, both retirees and professionals agree on what makes a city attractive to live in.

Excerpt:

"Intellectual engagement is one big draw...

The three-week Ann Arbor Summer Festival showcases more than 100 events, including dance, local bands, comedy and outdoor movies.

Ann Arbor is home to dozens of restaurants, from Caribbean to vegetarian to Tex-Mex. Transplanted New Yorkers will feel right at home sampling the bagels and pastrami at Zingerman’s Deli, an Ann Arbor institution since 1982."

More here.

U-M in top 10% of Forbes Top Colleges ranking

In this twist on typical college ranking methodologies, Forbes looks at what students take away from college vs. what it takes to get in.

Excerpt:

"The FORBES 7th annual Top Colleges ranking reveals higher education in flux, ongoing debate between the value of liberal arts vs. STEM degrees and a winning formula of high student satisfaction and graduation rates, alumni career success and low student debt...

What sets our calculation of 650 colleges and universities apart from other rankings is our firm belief in "output" over "input." We’re not all that interested in what gets a student  into  college. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting  out  of college."

More here

 

Was the Big House game a turning point for soccer in the U.S.?

The sports media was abuzz with the fact that the Real Madrid-Manchester United soccer game played at U-M Big House brought in 109,318 spectators. With tickets going for $100 and more, that's an economic event worth sitting upright for? But was it a one time fan event or a harbinger of things to come? Some believe it was more the former than the latter.

Excerpt:

"Among the major outlet process coverage of the match and the rest of European soccer’s American summer vacation, there have been think pieces of questioning the value of these European tours—whether they are a detriment to the growth of MLS, a ‘problem’ for American soccer as a whole, or merely a vapid commercial exercise. All of these things are potentially true, but they represent an ever-present insecurity that forms a divide within American soccer culture—that there is a right way to be an American soccer fan, that there is a right way to grow the sport in the United States, that these friendlies are fake."

Read the rest here.
 

Affordable housing and eco redevelopment in Ann Arbor

A pair of Ann Arbor affordable housing projects are under the microscope as WEMU looks at where green redevelopment and housing for lower income residents dovetail.

Excerpt:

"To 'better serve both its residents and our communities' public housing in Ann Arbor will become “greener,” healthier, more comfortable and more energy efficient, thanks to a project under way that includes significant involvement from the Ecology Center.

Jason Bing, healthy buildings director at the Ecology Center, is working with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission and Norstar Development on two new affordable housing projects that are intended to be models of green and healthy residential construction. When complete, the housing units should lower utility costs, as well as provide homes that are more comfortable and healthier for their residents."

Read/listen to the rest here.
 

U-M's struggle to adopt data-driven learning

Transitioning from traditional educational methods to our technology-aided, data-driven culture is a much more complicated and unwieldy than you might think.

Excerpt:

"But things were beginning to change. That same year, Michigan created a central data warehouse that has become a giant digital filing cabinet for all of the data collected by the university’s 19 schools and colleges. And soon universitywide management software vastly increased the amount of data flowing into that central warehouse.

More recently, Michigan has piped in data from its learning-management system that not only identify students and the courses they are taking, but also indicate how frequently they log in to the system, download digital course materials, and submit online assignments."

Read the rest here.

HomeGrown Festival kicks off September Bookfest

The HomeGrown Festival, which features, shockingly enough, local food, music, and drink, will be held at the Kerrytown Farmer's Market the night before the Kerrytown Bookfest - making the weekend a two-fer of community fun. There's a HomeBrew competitionso how bad could it be?

Visit the HomegRown Festival's site here. Check out their event brochure here. Info on Bookfest can be found here.
 

The secret to human-scaled cities? Smaller roads

This most excellent and passionate blog makes the case that the real secret to livable walkable communities is... smaller roads. We whole-heartedly agree. But good luck with that in Michigan.

Excerpt:

"We have to get out of the ugly habit of building such automobile-friendly environments. Once we make it automobile-friendly by adding wide roads and segregating automobile and pedestrian traffic, the automobile will take over. Remember, we fled from this. The result just happened to be worse, because we did not know any better. 

When we break the habit of building wide roads and segregating automobiles from pedestrians - even without having to ban them - we will begin building pleasant urban environments. "

Read the rest here.
 
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