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The Housing Issue

Illustration by Maya Friedman and Hermés Risien
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BY STATEMENT STAFF

Published September 25, 2011

You just settled into your off-campus home and probably haven't even unpacked your last box when your landlord rings the doorbell and arrives with eager young house-hunters looking to rent a place next fall. With October right around the corner, the student lease-signing cycle begins anew.

As the house-hunting season begins, The Michigan Daily has put together a housing guide to help you find a neighborhood you'll love. The housing information is based on an online survey of 186 students from the 15 different off-campus neighborhoods recognized by the University who shared their thoughts on the quality, price, location and safety of their home. The Statement staff scoured business maps to find the neighborhoods with the most and best shopping, nightlife, restaurants and green spaces and looked at reports from the University's Department of Public Safety and Ann Arbor Police Department to find areas of low crime. Act fast before your dream home gets taken.



MOST NATURE FRIENDLY

While Ann Arbor is certainly a modern city and students typically stick to the paved parts of town, our namesake is rooted in trees. There are plenty of locations on the greener side of campus: the Diag, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, all of North Campus. But none of these are more popular than the University’s very own Nichol’s Arboretum. Affectionately known as the Arb, this treasure trove of nature trails is not just for smoking pot, but a staple of student life.

The students living between Geddes and Washtenaw streets in the Oxford area know this all too well, as they’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from lying in the grass beside the Huron River, jogging through the fall foliage, tossing a Frisbee with friends or tray sledding while procrastinating for fall finals. Summer months welcome community performances by Shakespeare in the Arb, which has featured classics such as “A Winter’s Tale” and “Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Nichols Arboretum also boasts dozens of species of exotic and native trees, many of which outdate the park’s founding in 1906.

For students who need some nature, the Geddes and Washtenaw neighborhood will satisfy your green cravings.



CLOSEST TO CAMPUS

In the search for a house or apartment that’s close to campus, it’s no question that the neighborhood between Hill and East Huron streets offers one of the shortest commutes to the heart of Central Campus. With the Diag at its center, the area is crawling with students at all hours of the day. The numerous libraries, restaurants and bars in the area service the constant flow of students, who might be running any number of errands.

The area — with its mix of sorority and fraternity houses along Hill and Washtenaw, highly populated locations like University Towers and luxury housing like Zaragon Place apartments — boasts a wide range of housing options for students looking for a short walk to classes.

But because the area is filled to the brim with University buildings — ranging from residence halls to the School of Dentistry — the housing options in this area are limited, and the available choices can fill up early in the lease-signing season. You might need to act fast so you can sleep late and still be on time to your morning classes next fall.



LOWEST PRICE

The neighborhood north of the Huron River offers some of the cheapest off-campus housing for students. The area just east of Argo Pond and west of North Campus offers housing ranging from less than $300 to $700 per resident in the home. Nearby, the neighborhood just north of the University Medical Campus offers similar prices.

The distance from campus attracts a larger population of graduate students rather than undergrads, but the area has a variety of new and recently updated houses and apartments.