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Sava Lelcaj makes Crain's "40 Under 40" list

It was inevitable. I mean, seriously, is there an entrepreneur more responsible for transforming downtown Ann Arbor than Sava Lelcaj?


"In the meantime, Lelcaj and her team are preparing to launch a product line and open two new “grocerants,” a concept that she describes as a marriage between a traditional grocery store and a restaurant. The markets will sell ready-to-eat/heat food as well as products from the company’s new line. Both grocerants will be located in Ann Arbor, with one at 2835 Boardwalk and the other at 12 Nickels Aracade. "

Read the rest here.

The town that driverless cars built

Robotic pedestrians and tricky intersections -probably with traffic circle-ignorant drivers- will be part of the research and testing town created for driverless car research.


"A mocked-up set of busy streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will provide the sternest test yet for self-driving cars. Complex intersections, confusing lane markings, and busy construction crews will be used to gauge the aptitude of the latest automotive sensors and driving algorithms; mechanical pedestrians will even leap into the road from between parked cars so researchers can see if they trip up onboard safety systems."

Read the rest here.

A conversation about affordable housing in Ann Arbor

Both Mark Maynard and the Metro Times have decided to tackle the issue of affordable housing - or rather the growing lack of such - in Ann Arbor. As usual their thoughts are both insightful and empathetic.

Excerpt from Mark Maynard:

"I don’t have any problem with affordable housing. I think it’s a good thing. What I have a real problem with, however, is segregation. I have a problem with a system where it’s accepted that some towns are “too nice” for the poor. And I find it doubly infuriating when these nice, liberal communities, once they’ve forced their most vulnerable citizens beyond their borders, mount campaigns to stop attempts at regional cooperation, as we recently saw play out in the battle over the AATA’s expanded role in providing bus service within Washtenaw County. Many people in Ann Arbor cried out that they didn’t want their tax dollars going to fund the transportation of people in Ypsilanti, in spite of the fact that many of those people were probably Ann Arborites before they were forced out due to the cost of living. And the same goes for everything from our public schools to our police departments."

Excerpt from the Metro Times:

"It's a good post, one that inspired a lot of people to join in with comments of their own. The general tone is one of despair at what Ann Arbor has become, how it has fallen from its days as a scrappy campus town with a good mix of incomes. After reading them, we come away agreeing that without lots of different kinds of people of different classes with different perspectives, a city is a less interesting place. As for subsidies, one needn't not have a job to not receive subsidies. The fact is, everybody in the United States gets some sort of subsidy, not just the odd person who makes it their life's work to avoid earning a living."

Read Mark's observations and opinions here.

Read the Metro Times respone here.

Ann Arbor charms the socks off a Canadian travel writer

They come from all over but leave singing our praises. Another travel writer (this time from the Great White North), another glowing report about Ann Arbor as a travel destination.


"As I explored the downtown area by foot, I found that this city seemed to resonate with its own special vibe, and its plethora of performing arts theatres, art studios, microbreweries, specialty shops, world-class museums, and numerous parks and green spaces all contributed to the special feeling I had there."

Read the rest here.

U-M spinout produces revolutionary battery technology

U-M tech innovation + entrepreneurial ambition = successful startup. See, math isn't so hard.


"Produced by Sakti3, Inc., a self-proclaimed “spinout” company from the University of Michigan, the battery cell has double the energy density of a current lithium ion battery. In more specific terms, the battery produces over 1,100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density. Typical lithium-ion batteries produce between 250-730 Wh/l."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor's blossoming condo market

And on the flipside of the affordable housing issue... we have this. Hmmm. Any chance our fair city could find a way to create greater (not less) economic diversity?  Because in case you hadn't noticed a few buildings have gone up in downtown Ann Arbor. And guess what? People are moving into them and paying big bucks to do so. Funny how the market works, huh? Demand meet limited supply.


"Many of the current and earlier developments specifically cater to U-M students, offering additional near-campus living options aside from blocks of grubby old houses. Other projects have targeted high-earning professionals and empty-nesters and are filling up faster than local observers anticipated.

Fueling the boom has been an eagerness among lenders to finance high-end student housing projects, the willingness of parents to pay upwards of $1,400 a month for a child’s college bedroom, and what appears to be pent-up demand in general for amenity-filled Ann Arbor apartments."

Read the rest here.

U-M and startup community create an entrepreneurial ecosystem

What do you get when you mix one of the biggest, best-funded institutions in the country with an ever-growing list of aggressive entrepreneurial incubators? Answers revealed in the article link below!


"Student organizations tout entrepreneurial spirit abound — namely MPowered, optiMize and MHacks — and administrative facilities and programs, like the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovate Blue, foster startup ideas and passion, providing resources that turn those concepts into realities.

Even outside the University, startup enthusiasm is everywhere. Incubators and consulting firms like TechArb, Ann Arbor SPARK and Menlo Innovations are in high demand — the former two even partner with the students through Innovate Blue."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor filled with brainiacs

Even folks in the U.K. are impressed by the size of our big brains. Which inspires one to ask: Does it also mean we also have big heads?


Move over East Coast elite! Ann Arbor is America's most educated city but New York doesn't even make the top 50, study says:

-The Michigan city is number one among the nation's 150 largest metro areas, according to Wallet Hub
-The study analyzed nine metrics including number of workers in tech and science, quality/size of a city's universities and educational attainment
-Ann Arbor was followed by Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina; Provo, Utah; Provo, Utah; Manchester, New Hamphsire

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor Farmer's Market featured on Today show

Truth be told, the guest was Joe Diaz from travel magazine Afar Media who suggested that the Ann Arbor Farmers Market would make a boffo fall getaway, touting it as "one of the most colorful and bountiful markets in the United States." But that still counts.

Watch the segment below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ann Arbor number two college town among small metros

With high scores in academic environment, good scores in quality of life and, well, less than good scores in professional opportunities, Ann Arbor still manged to take second place, sandwiched between Boulder, CO and Madison, WI.


"The “college experience” is about more than simply attending a top-notch university. The city or town where the school is located also is important. The people students meet, the places they go, and the jobs they may hold are essential supplements to formal education."

Check out the rankings here.

Many support mass transit, but far fewer use it

Turns out that Onion headline ("98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others.") is pretty close to true. So, how does support turn into use?


"They found no statistical connection between respondents who supported transit funding and those who wanted to drive less, or even those willing to use transit if it were more convenient. But respondents who believed "the community would benefit" had a 700 percent increase in odds of being a pro-transit voter. The researchers write in the journal Transportation: Put simply, Americans are more likely to see transit as a way to solve social problems than as a way to get around.

This doesn't have to be a bad thing, so long as people indefinitely keep paying for transit they don't use. Perhaps that's even a sign of societal maturity. But problems will arise if voters stop agreeing to devote their taxes to transit, because the broader benefits they've hoped for fail to materialize."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor-based musician creates app for bands and fans

What we at Concentrate love almost as much as a story about a local musician developing technology to help his fellow artists is that this U.K. publication considers Ann Arbor part of Detroit. Yay regionalization! That's the spirit!


"The dad-of-two, who now splits his time between visiting his children in Preston and Ann Arbour in Detroit, has performed in front of 25,000 people at Ewood Park after winning the Rock FM Rock Idol competition back in 2002.

However, part of the ?reason for him developing the app was to allow musicians to have their music discovered without relying on radio play."

Read the rest here.

Another day, another best of list for Ann Arbor

So, the danger here is to point to the listicle and call it a day. But even if we are the 13th best place to live according to Livability.com (moving up a few spots from last year) that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, right? Or do we sound too much like a mom?


"This quintessential Big Ten college town lays claim to the University of Michigan, which includes Michigan Stadium – the largest stadium in North America. Residents have easy access to the more than 300 restaurants located in a 20-mile radius of Ann Arbor, as well as the city's growing metropolitan area that features great schools, medical facilities, culture and more."

Check out who else made the list here.

The humans (and lizard people) of Ann Arbor

First there was the popular Facebook page "Humans Of New York," which supposedly sets out to capture the rich pageant of living in America's largest city. Then Ann Arbor created its rather more homogeneous counterpart. Then the inevitable happened. Grad student Jeremy Kaplowitz sought to unmask the lizard people of New York who actually control our world. Now that mission has spread to Ann Arbor as well… though no hidden reptilians have yet to be revealed. Yet. Further proof of a conspiracy?

Humans Of New York: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork

Lizard People Of New York: https://www.facebook.com/lizardpeopleofny

Humans of Ann Arbor: https://www.facebook.com/HumansOfAnnArbor

Lizard People of Ann Arbor: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lizard-People-of-Ann-Arbor

Auto industry showdown: driverless cars vs wireless cars

With Detroit's auto industry developing cars that can talk to one another in order to avoid traffic jams and keep drivers safe, and Google's plan to develop driver-less cars, there's a battle a brew in' for which technology will set the course of our auto future.


"Among the advancements automakers announced at last week’s conference in Detroit was GM’s “Super Cruise” system for 2017 Cadillacs, which will let drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and feet from the pedals for periods of highway driving. Like technology being developed by Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and other companies, GM’s system hands control back and forth between driver and vehicle.

The approach that Mountain View, California-based Google is taking is, literally, much more hands-off. In May it unveiled plans to deploy at least 100 fully autonomous, two-seat, egg-shaped test cars with a top speed of 25 miles (40 kilometers) per hour and no steering wheel. Google has since said it will include one, as well as brake and gas pedals, as California requires."

Read the rest here.
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