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Suburban commuters are big polluters

As more and more people move into dense urban environments, accessing public transportation, the suburb remain a formidable source of carbon pollution. This is a big deal for Ann Arbor when you consider that 70 percent of U-M's employees do not live in the city.


"Suburban commuters are, and will continue to be, a leading source of vehicular carbon chemicals unless they're provided alternative means of transportation."

"This hypothesis—that emissions from suburban car commuters negates the benefits of green transit in urban cores—is supported by a 2014 study by the University of California. That research concluded that populous cities with small carbon footprints are generally surrounded by gas-guzzling suburbs."

Read the rest here.

New bike house to be added to Ann Arbor's downtown

Cyclists and pedal commuters will have a second parking lot for their self-powered vehicles in Ann Arbor's downtown. Yay!


"The getDowntown Program manages the Maynard bike house, which offers downtown employees who sign up, at a cost of $75 per year, guaranteed and reserved bike parking with a secure entrance accessed via keycard.

The new bike house will be managed by getDowntown similar to the Maynard bike house with similar fees.

The DDA board voted at its last meeting to approve spending up to $60,000 to design, fabricate and install the new bike house using downtown parking revenues."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor teacher given Stephen Sondheim award

Each year the Kennedy Center hands out Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards to teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students. This year 13 were awarded, 3 were awarded to Michigan teachers and 1 was Pioneer High School teacher Jim Robert.


"Be the change you want to see in the world!" I entered the teaching profession to inspire my students accordingly. What I didn't anticipate was how being in the presence of adolescents would thoroughly change me. For 27 years they have been teaching me to listen and inside that listening I have learned to teach."

Check out the list here.

U-M researchers challenge "an apple a day" dictum

So, researchers from the University of Michigan's School of Nursing have concluded that while an apple a day won't keep the doctor away, it might reduce your need for prescription meds and be less likely to smoke.


"Still, there’s plenty to love about apples. They’re a great source of vitamin C and fiber, and they’re chock-full of healthy polyphenols and antioxidants, including quercetin, a compound that has been shown to lower blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. Other research has shown that eating one a day can make sex better for women."

Read the rest of this silliness here.

U-M solar car team to compete in local Eco-marathon

We've been following U-M's solar car team for a few years now, with races in far-flung regions like Australia. In two weeks y'all can get a gander at the award-winning team as they compete against 130 other vehicles in the Shell Eco-marathon, which is being held for the first time in Detroit April 9-12.


The U-M Supermileage Team will compete in the Shell Eco-marathon, held for the first time in Detroit at the Cobo Center April 9-12.

The contest, which started as a wager between two engineers in 1939, has since gone global, attracting engineering students from around the world who aim to design, build and drive the world's most energy-efficient vehicle.

Read the rest here.

U-M among top 20 schools for luxury student housing

The University of Michigan comes in at a respectable (is that the right word?) 17 on the list for college campuses with the most luxurious student housing. Man, where were these places when I went to school in a drafty, cinderblock room crammed with two other students?

Who topped the list? The Hub at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


This residence building at The University of Michigan is so coveted that first year students don’t even have a chance at its luxurious living. The private and spacious rooms set to mimic apartment living are only some of its benefits. Additional amenities include bike routes, learning communities, a TV studio, lounges on every floor and communal spaces with work areas and conference rooms with video conference equipment and media facilities. The cherry on top? The dining hall has reached ‘gold status’ for exotic fare like their famous burger crumble tacos and even have served shark!

Read the rest of the list here. Watch a video about the housing here.


The economic case for turning parking spaces into bike lanes

Here in Michigan, where the automobile is religiously worshiped like an expensive and ever-demanding deity, this concept might seem absurd. Luckily, there are compelling studies for other cities to seriously ponder as we inevitably ignore or dismiss them.


But here's the thing about the "studies on possible economic impacts" requested by retailers on Polk Street, or really wherever bike-lane plans emerge—they've been done. And done. And done again. And they all reach a similar conclusion: replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business. While cyclists tend to spend less per shopping trip than drivers, they also tend to make more trips, pumping more total money into the local economy over time.

So to put these debates to rest we've compiled an annotated, chart-filled guide to every major study we know of conducted on the subject to date. Here they are, in no particular order, for your public meeting pleasure.

Read the rest here... if you dare.


A sneak peek at Jerusalem Garden 2.0

You know you're a true Ann Arbor local when you click on a link that offers you a glimpse inside the new, soon-to-open Jerusalem Garden. For the uninitiated, JG is a popular falafel and shwarma joint that took over the former Seva restaurant space on Liberty.

Here's your sneak peek.


Ann Arbor officially earns its hipster badge

Ann Arbor has been ranked as the 15th most hipster city in America, beating out San Francisco's rank of 16. So, now the question becomes: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?


So where are the hipster hubs? Using our places data, we at FindTheHome determined four important attributes that define a “hipster city” and found 19 cities that fit the bill (and surprisingly, Portland is not one of them). We first decided to only look at cities with over 50,000 people that also had a high population of people between the ages of 20 and 34. Then we looked at the cities with a fairly educated population (a high percentage of residents with at least a Bachelor’s Degree), many cafes and yoga studios. We calculated a composite score for each city by multiplying the number of yoga studios per 10K people with cafes per 10K people, and used this final number to rank the cities.

Read the list here and cheer… or weep. 

5 'tech titans' have strong ties to Michigan

Of the 23 "titans" listed in this compendium of tech giants, more than 20 percent have strong ties to the Mitten. And more than a couple are U-M grads.


"... we've profiled 23 tech titans with Midwest roots, whether they earned their degrees here or were born-and-bred. Yes, each founder and executive eventully left for the coast, but if the region continues to build out its individual tech hubs, the surrounding states will start to retain the game-changing innovators - like Marc Andreesen, Larry Page, Jack Dorsey, and more - that it's consistenly seeding. "

Read the list here.

Saline-based Flatout purchased for $92 million

Columbus, Ohio-based T. Marzetti Co. bought the Saline-grown rolled sandwich franchise Flatout for a not-too-shabby $92 million.


"Flatout reported $42 million in net sales in 2014. The company has about 150 employees at its factory in a Saline industrial park. The company, one of Washtenaw County's most successful food start-ups, was partially sold in 2010 to private equity firm North Castle Partners and Glencoe Capital."

Read the rest here.

Six qualities that make a beautiful city

Some cities have it. Others don't. It's nice to think that your hometown is a great place but the truth is, some cities are better than others. This article does a great job of articulating why.


"All of the most beautiful compact cities have human-scaled squares where people can gather. Ideally, the squares are no more than 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter so that you can make out a person’s face on the other side—lest they become alienating. Squares give us a break from the confines of home and allow us to bask in the cheering company of others in uplifting surroundings, de Botton says. Yet nobody’s built a good square on the planet for decades, he says."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor's affordability problem

We can't help but feel we help start a conversation that was long overdue - how does Ann Arbor become a city that embraces economic diversity?


"On a regional level, economic segregation makes the county fundamentally unsustainable, as some communities “degrade beyond a point of no return, and others grow in value beyond a point that’s ever again affordable,” according to the report. As is often the case, the housing market is an indicator of more sweeping trends. It turns out that Ann Arbor’s rising housing market corresponds with increasing wage disparity. Households in the city’s metro area that are in the 90th income percentile have seen an 18.8 percent gain since 1979, while those in the 10th percentile had wages drop by 14.4 percent. This wage divide correlates all too neatly with race. “To be in the 90th percentile (income) in Washtenaw County is to be white,” according to the report, “and to be in the 10th percentile is to not be white.”"

Read the rest here.

Tecumseh Brewing Company to open in April

Ann Arbor Brewing begat Corner Brewing. Grizzly Peak begat Jolly Pumpkin Brewing. Now, Ann Arbor's Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery (as well as Melange) has begotten the Tecumseh Brewing Company. It's all part of Michigan's growing beer ecosystem.


"Between Tecumseh Brewing Company’s interior and proposed beer garden and patio, the establishment will hold approximately 150 people. Guests will have the opportunity to choose from 16 taps dedicated to the brewery’s signature brews.

According to DeWitt, the goal is to have all 16 taps up and running by the brewery’s target opening timeframe of early April."

Read the rest here.

The urban donut has shifted

The old and busted narrative went thusly: Suburbs are safe, smart and affluent. Cities are scary, poor, and un-educated. What a difference 20 years make.


Putting urban neighborhoods under a microscope, a University of Virginia researcher has concluded that the traditional urban "donut" pattern — a ring of thriving suburbs surrounding a decaying city center — is being replaced by a new pattern: a thriving urban core surrounded by a ring of suburbs with older housing, older residents and more poverty.

Read the rest here.
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