Ann Arbor ranks in the top 10 of Well-Being Cities study

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index conducted a survey between January 2 and December 29 of last year. In the list of Top 10 Metro Areas with Best Overall Well-Being, Ann Arbor was number 8.

And it gets even better. When residents were asked questions about six categories -- Life evaluation, Emotional Health, Work Environment, Physical Health, Healthy Behaviors, and Access to Basic Necessities -- Ann Arbor was #1 (just as it was in 2011) in Life Evaluation (a category that asked participants if they felt they were thriving, struggling, or suffering. Ann Arbor showed improvement over 2011 in their ranking in Basic Access (in 2011, AA was #7; last year, AA was #5).

Ann Arbor lost ground in Emotional Health (in 2011, the score was 13; last year, that number plummeted to 77). There was a dip in perceived Physical Health (2011=12; 2012=21) and Healthy Behavior (2011=36; 2012=54). Area employers may want to pay attention to the change in Ann Arbor's Work Environment score (2011=64; 2012=100).

Two other Michigan cities got good news in this survey.Holland and Grand Haven scored the highest in the Basic Access category.

The complete report can be found here.

Fifty Years of Books and Authors

Since about 1958, a lively local book group -- under the umbrella of the U-M Faculty Women's Club -- has been reading favorite books and meeting to discuss them. Several years ago members hosted Peter Ho Davies, and last night, Michael Byers, author of Long for this World, who even received a copy of the group's 1958-2009 reading list to take home with him. For an idea of this group's tastes, visit LibraryThing.

More Ann Arbor Rankings: #5 Gay Friendly Small Town & #1 Michigan Town to Raise Kids

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concentrate has a short news item reporting that Ann Arbor is the #5 gay friendly small town in the U.S. and is the #1 Michigan town to raise kids.

GayWired.com’s rationale for the #5 rating:
“Why it's on our gaydar… An upbeat college town, the home of Edmund White's alma mater, the University of Michigan, is a haven of tolerance, just 35 miles west of Detroit (population 115,000). Women drink, play pool, and have dinner at the miniscule, two-level, lesbian-adored Aut Bar. Thrilling restaurants abound and once you're ready to up the ante, head to gay-friendly club Necto. Ann Arbor is also home to a slew of LGBT groups, from Ann Arbor Queer Aquatics to the Lesbian Moms Network.”

And from BusinessWeek, this remarkably uninformative, unpersuasive rationale: "Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is one of the best college towns in America. It has acres of parks, galleries, museums, restaurants, boutiques, and seven golf courses.”

Tree Town in Top Ten Again

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Add Tree Town to another Top Ten list ... the Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities ranked the City of Ann Arbor the 7th Best Digital City in the country. The City's website was honored for the Citizen Request System, GIS resources, MyProperty, and TRAKiT, a new online service offering 24/7 lookup of permits, registrations and inspections.

Ann Arbor Ranks Fourth in Nation for Racial Disparities in Mortgage Loan Prices

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The National Community Reinvestment Coalition has released a study on racial disparities in high-cost home mortgage loans from more than 219 metropolitan areas. The report is based on 2006 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The 2006 data is the latest available data. Here is the press release about the study and the full 64 page report.

Today’s Ann Arbor News reports that “Ann Arbor ranked fourth among metropolitan areas in the United States for the most pronounced racial disparities in home mortgage loan prices."

The methodology of this report may receive more scrutiny than the methodology of the more positive rankings the city has received.

What's the Highest Point in Ann Arbor?

According to Cresson Slotten, Senior Project Manager, City of Ann Arbor Systems Planning Unit: “Highest point is off Maple Road, near where it hits Pauline Blvd…at 1015 feet above sea level…the highest point is not right at that intersection but at the Grace Bible Church, which sits about a hundred yards to the west of Maple.” “Second-highest point in the city, at 1000 feet, is in the northwest corner of town, atop a hill at the city water treatment plant off Sunset Road.” Source: Ann Arbor News, August 30 2004, page B-1, Geoff Larcom, “How to Get Your Head in the Clouds”.

Extra! Extra! Tree Town Is #1

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Tree Town IS AARP The Magazine's Healthiest Hometown in America. With the mayor and other dignitaries on hand at Nichols Arboretum Education Center today, July 23, AARP made the announcement. Arb walking and Border-to-Border biking definitely put us at the top of the list.

Historic buildings on the go

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A stroll through the Arboretum's lovely Peony Garden (which should bloom within the next couple weeks), will take you past the Reader Center on Washington Heights, formerly the Nathan Burnham house, built in 1837 and previously located at 947 Wall Street/940 Maiden Lane. More information on historic buildings around town (including another house that's moved from one location to another) can be found among the 200 images in AADL's Ann Arbor Architecture Archive. The archive includes text from the book Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI, which is also available to check out or browse online.

State of Ann Arbor's Environment

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More than 60 environmental indicators for Ann Arbor are tracked in the City's State of Environment report. The report is packed with data on topics like air quality, landfills, creeks, sidewalks and renewable energy. This interactive site lets you see the relationship between the goals we, as a community, have set and where we stand in achieving those goals. Don't forget that you can begin positively impacting Tree Town's environment today by walking, biking or busing to work during Curb Your Car Month.

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