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Affordable Housing: What Ann Arbor Can Learn From Santa Cruz, CA

In discussing the need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, recent conversations have ranged from planned density to public assistance to developer incentives. But what about revisiting the idea of allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs)? Santa Cruz, CA has taken the lead with these small, apartment-sized houses, creating a program that cities around the nation are emulating.

Digital Inclusion: From classroom to pop-up

A program at EMU not only aims to teach low-income and at-risk area youth how to repair computers, but how to sell the fruits of their labors at a retail pop up. It's the best kind of entrepreneurial education, learning by both book and by practice.

Cool Jobs: Quack!Media's Al McWilliams

Al McWilliams launched his ad and media agency Quack!Media with the profits he earned from selling a high school buddy's ska band cassette. Okay, there's more to the story than that, but suffice to say, it's representative of how this did-it-himself entrepreneur does things. We chat with McWilliams about his company's diverse client list, local politics and, believe it or not, municipal infrastructure.

5 tough questions with Ypsilanti City Council member Lois Richardson

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Ypsilanti's relationship with and to Ann Arbor, particularly when it comes to affordable housing. Concentrate chats with Lois Richardson, a seven-term Ypsilanti city council member, about housing, crime and current perceptions about her beloved community.

Sound and Vision: Leon Speakers embraces the art of design

A lot of companies pay lip service to the idea of product innovation and aesthetics but Ann Arbor-based Leon Speakers walks the talk, using art and music as a source of inspiration. One has only to step inside its newly expanded complex to understand the depth of its commitment. Concentrate's Jon Zemke and Doug Coombe did just that.

How 'smart' is Michigan's electrical grid?

You may have a smart meter on your house, but what's so "smart" about it? We explore Michigan's foray into the "smart grid" and how it affects you.

Plot twists in Ann Arbor's publishing scene

Like the rest of the nation, Ann Arbor's publishing industry has undergone quite a bit of upheaval. The rise of e-readers and print-on-demand has presented both challenges and opportunities. Still, there is an active and even innovative local book scene, filled with readers, writers and publishers. 

Ann Arbor theater's next act

Recent upheavals in Ann Arbor's performing arts scene have left some worried about the state of local theater. Concentrate takes a look at where things are now, where they might go next , and who's filling (or not filling) those seats.

Is Ann Arbor affordable? Nope. (And that's official.)

It's no secret that Ann Arbor offers a high quality of life for its residents. But with little supply and increased demand, the cost of living here has become prohibitive for many members of the middle class. And without a plan for future accommodation this not only means less diversity but also potential long term economic challenges.

Little Free Libraries: Connecting neighborhoods book by book

Maybe you've seen them, little birdhouse-like structures filled with books, stationed beside the sidewalk, at the end of  someone's lawn. The Little Free Library movement has caught on in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, creating a sharing community of bibliophiles while connecting neighbors that might not ever have met. 

Happy Holidays!

Concentrate wishes you the warmest of holiday wishes ...before its staff indulges in two weeks of rest, holiday cheer, and gift returns. We'll be back January 7th with more stories about the people, companies and innovations that fuel Ann Arbor's creative and economic growth.

5 hard questions with Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor

Public art. Near-downtown development. Affordable housing. Council divisions. Ann Arbor's brand new mayor, Christopher Taylor, has a lot of issues on his plate. Concentrate's Natalie Burg zeroes in on where he stands on the issues.

Startups for students, by students

Ann Arbor boasts both a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem and a large, internationally renowned university. No surprise then that the two have fostered a fair number of startups - not only created by students, but also for students.

Accelerate Michigan farm system slow cooks startups

The annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition may sometimes seem like a line-up of the usual startup suspects, but in actuality it's seeding the ground for more and wider business interests and, more importantly, investment.

Agrarian Adventure: Bringing the farm to the classroom

…Or How Kids Learned To Stop Hating Veggies and Love Kohlrabi. Agrarian Adventure brings educational programs to a dozen different Ann Arbor area schools, helping kids better understand where their food comes from and even how to grow their own.
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