You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

CNN's names Ann Arbor among "America's 100 Best Small Cities"

By Brian Vernellis

Add another “Best Of” list to Ann Arbor’s credit.

A Money magazine online list  ranks Ann Arbor among “America’s 100 Best Small Cities.” The national publication ranked Ann Arbor No. 46 in the Top 100, and it was the only Michigan city to make the list. wrote:

“Football season may be this city's most popular pastime, but residents of Ann Arbor would insist that the city is always a great place to be. 
“This friendly college town has all the perks of a much bigger city. The downtown area is a mecca of arts and culture, with museums, theatres, and galleries. Golf courses and biking and hiking trails are never far away.”

CNN's looked at more than 700 U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 to 300,000 and selected its list based on economy, affordable housing, education, arts/leisure and health.

Ann Arbor has made several “Best Of” lists within the year:



Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 6:29 p.m.

OK... I forgot... Ann Arbor is in MI... so no jobs will come here no matter what we do... it's a MI thing... so much for the oasis; )


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 3:40 p.m.

Well you don't know they aren't doing anything to help businesses move in, you just think they aren't becasue no one has moved here. You are just assuming it's easier than it is, which is very very silly, some might even say folly. It's a no-win situation when arm chair city leaders run the city from these boards. "They aren't doing enough to get a multi billion dollar business here." They give parking spaces to Google, a multi billion dollar business. Then everyone cries because Google has cheated the taxpayer out of money for parking spaces, eventhough the parking spaces are in a city lot and not actually costing any money (and what's the crying about a couple parking spaces anyway, according to everyone we have more than enough and no need to build a new parking structure).


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

Why that's easy... it's especially difficult with no effort whatsoever; ) Amazing things happen with intent and action... Little happens when we're content with inaction...


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

"If this is true, why hasn't City leadership focussed on placing another employer within the City limits?" hard could it be to replace a massive multi billion dollar business?


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

Yes, abc, those areas grew, as did Canton Township. None of them pay taxes in Ann Arbor. What's your point? Check out the property values in Ypsilanti Township, etc. Fog-a-mirror-to-get-a-giant-real-estate-loan days are over. Now it's about jobs. People need jobs to come here. People leave to find them somewhere else. What if our city leaders had directed $1mil at attracting employers with something other than the mist of the folly fountain? Could we have possibly attracted some new jobs to the city? We'll never know because we didn't try. So goes the shrinking oasis... with the folly fountain devoting precious resources to atmospheric cloud formation...


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

@ CynicA2 & a2grateful The population statistics posted by a2grateful are strictly for the city of Ann Arbor and DO NOT represent the growth in the surrounding townships. Between 1970 and 2005 Ann Arbor Township grew by 30 %, Ypsilanti Township grew by 60% Scio Township tripled and Pittsfield Township quadrupled. The total growth of those surrounding townships over that time frame is 60,000 people. So between 1970 and 2005 the Ann Arbor area grew by 70%.


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

I originally come from near NYC, up in Westchester county. Ann Arbor is an absolute oasis in the Midwest. It has a wonderful balance of the cultural, educational, and recreational. I'm glad fate brought me here.


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

Number 46 is nothing to brag about considering we used to be in the top 20s back in '86!!!


Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

what's the secret sauce of the other fourty-five towns? Maybe they have more city government deciding what's best for everybody.

thomas h blaske

Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 5:48 a.m.

I believe that the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra -- along with lots of other local music, such as happens at the Ark - is a big part of this enrichment. It IS one of the best towns in America.

Mr. Tibbs

Tue, Jul 13, 2010 : 5:10 a.m.

I find this amusing. how does a large employer get from place to place, to find a suitable spot to invest thier money? do they take the bus? do they drive? do they take a virual tour? do they take the word of "friends" who have visited the place? or perhaps they do what they have always done with thier money, and see to it theselves that it is handled properly and go see that it is somewhere they would like to gable so much investment capitol? improve your airport. get off it people. the men and women who have investment capitol fly. give the what they want. 800 feet of extra run-out at the end of the runway. 747's and all those great big airplanes that the stir-sticks have been telling you about cannot happen. the runway will still only be 75 feet wide no matter what and that can only accomodate aircraft of a size that is known as a personal jet, and nothing larger. yep our safety record is par excellence. lets keep it that way. give these prospective business investors a safe way in and a safe way out. the money is there, both federal, state, and the municpal portion which is only about 5 to 10 percent of the entire costs. all of the environmental studies have been done and the requirements have been met. it is all just political posturing as always, and there has never been a bigger killer of jobs than political posturing. I think it is tie michigan got out of its poor posure, stood up straught again, quit slouching, quit your "poor me" complaining, and deal with reality. the reality is we need these jobs, and unless we show we are willing to work for them, they ain't coming.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 10:29 p.m.

I wish people weren't so negative about Ann Arbor. Ya know, there are plenty of other places you can go live. So if it's gone down hill that bad in your eyes, go find a better place to live. No place is absolutely perfect and there are always things that can be improved. It's easy to complain- take part and make this a better place! I love Ann Arbor, with all its ups and downs. I feel lucky to be here and raise my family in such a "rich" place.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 8:04 p.m.

Maybe now Ann Arbor will take my advice and charge a toll to enter the city


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

I've lived in the Ann Arbor area for the past 50 years and I'm not a big fan. The city feels claustrophobic to me and the traffic/parking is horrendous. It's difficult to enjoy the outdoor cafes because of the way the traffic noise reverberates between the buildings. The city looks dirty, tired and worn. I will only venture into the city to catch an act at the Power Center or the Michigan theatre or get a Blimpy burger or go to Zingerman's.

Bridget Bly

Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 5:48 p.m.

Hey now, Deb, no need to pick on Minnesota. It's a nice enough state, and Eden Prairie is a nice enough town, and Minnesotans are famous for being, well, nice enough. But on the other hand, I agree with you. Eden Prairie is no Ann Arbor. Symphony, Arboretum, river, art, wide-open sky, over-educated populace -- who could want more?


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

Mayor Hieftje and cast commonly bemoan the loss of Pfizer jobs, complaining that the loss differential has been the cause of the City's economic woes. If this is true, why hasn't City leadership focussed on placing another employer within the City limits? Public schools benefit. Local housing demand benefits. City coffers benefit. Building infrastructure like hotels and conference centers may have made sense in 1960. In 2010, it makes little sense, because there is little user demand or growing tax base. A focus on smart economic development could truly reinvigorate Ann Arbor.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

Here's some a2 census/SEMCOG population and forecast data: 1960: 067,340 1970: 100,035 1980: 107,969 1990: 109,608 2000: 114,024 2005: 113,275 2010: 108,612 2025: 114,810


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 4:57 p.m.

a2grateful. I agree with you that these rankings are done by people that dont live here and probably have never even visited when looking at the criteria. Jackson was once a top ten place to live also, now... However, there is no other place in michigan that I would rather live, unless its a gigantic cottage on one of the big lakes with a big boat in front of it. Oh and in this rankings top 25 there are 4 towns from Minnesota. just my opinion that minnesota kinda sucks.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

This proves Ann Arbor is the center of the universe.....who knew?


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 4 p.m.

Merely a stagnant population?!? I believe it has actually declined over the past decade - and likely will decline further when the 2010 Census data is released. You don't have to be a Tea Partyer, or Leskoite to state the obvious, and ya' don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows! Also, the bloggers on The Daily Beast, most of whom are young, roundly criticized this article and many of the cities on it. Another Richard Florida pipe-dream.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

Politically this town would rate as a LIBERAL paradise but to the conservative this is a looney bin! Its always fun to see the Lib's acting crazy i.e. the race for mayor!


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

It's always amusing to hear residents championing awards given by people that don't live here... Great towns don't need awards to help residents convince each other that their town is great. Also, great towns grow and evolve. In contrast, Ann Arbor population has been stagnant for more than twenty years. It is projected to see little growth in the next twenty years. An oasis amidst encroaching droughted surroundings will not continue in lushness. in our case, the illusion of greatness evaporates to reveal crumbling roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, along with cuts in "essential" services. The oasis is shrinking. It used to include the city in a greater manner. The perimeter now shrinks to bounds of U of M properties. The City of U of M wins awards. The City of Ann Arbor is just lucky to haphazardly reap benefits of geographical proximity.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

Isn't there a sign on northbound 23 that says Flint? We all know the importance of those. A dead giveaway.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

Ann Arbor has slipped. It was #25 in 2006 and #27 in 2008.


Mon, Jul 12, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

come to find out the city council is doing there job, just kidding, Atlanta is a far ways from Ann Arbor.