Allen Elementary serves varied neighborhoods of sturdy brick ranches, colonials, and tri-levels on the east and southeast sides of the city. Allen School itself lies behind historic Cobblestone Farm and year-round city recreation favorite Buhr Park, which features a swimming pool, outdoor ice rink, barn with farm animals, and sports fields. Many small ranches here were built in the 1950s as the area was hooked up to Ann Arbor water and sewer services.

The single-family neighborhoods north of Washtenaw have a split personality: unpaved streets and large, wooded lots give the homes on Chalmers and Woodland a country feel, in contrast to the bigger, newer houses of the Woodcreek subdivision. The same contrast is visible north along the river, where tract mansions tower over the smaller, architect-designed homes of the Thornoaks sub, now preserved as a mid-century modern historic district. South of Michigan Ave. is the Hickory Pointe subdivision with its 65 homes, 5 parks, and swim club. Just north, at Platt and Textile, at Platt and Textile, sales are underway for the 60 attached multifamily condominiums and 104 detached single-family homes of a new sub, Pittsfield Glen.

The Allen district includes the ranch-style 103-unit Carleton Court apartments at Packard and Platt. Students also are bused in from 3 huge rental complexes south of I-94: the 582-unit Pines of Cloverlane and 440-unit Hamptons of Cloverlane, both off Michigan Ave., and the affordable 609-unit University Townhouses co-op on Ellsworth. A new source of affordable housing is the Creekside Court project on the east side of Platt south of Packard.

Depending on their neighborhood, Allen grads go on to Scarlett or Tappan, and from there to Huron or Pioneer.

Bike lanes: Platt has bike lanes. Huron River Dr. is a suggested route. East-west commuting is difficult: cyclists use sidewalks on major arteries of Washtenaw and Packard.

Walking: Allen School has a walk score of 30 ( The Woodcreek subdivision area is close to Arborland area shopping, with groceries and more, but many areas are not within walking distance of retail.