Northeast-side Thurston Elementary is surrounded by a pond, a prairie, and a nature area, and its 1960s-era ranches and colonials are filled with families who walk to school and the neighborhood pool and parks via nature trails and sidewalks. Older neighborhoods comprise a well-manicured mixture of subdivisions, condominiums, townhouses, and apartment complexes.

Business professionals, U-M faculty and staff, children, and retirees all mix in this diverse area. The single-family subdivisions west of Green were first known as Ford Motor Company neighborhoods, for their high commuter population with US-23 nearby. Young families are very much in evidence. The neighborhoods are fairly stable, with an extremely high rate of home ownership. Many children live within walking distance of school, and shopping at Traver Village and Plymouth Road Mall is just a stone’s throw away.

The hamlet of Dixboro, along Plymouth Rd. at the western edge of Superior Township, has a small core of historic homes. The Thurston area continues deep into the township, where exclusive subdivisions are mixed in with old and new country homes on huge lots with views of the remaining farms. Some homes in the Glennborough sub off Gale have sold for more than $1.5 million.

The 480-unit Windmere Park apartments are near the school; some students also are bused from the 350-unit Arrowwood Hills Co-op.

The Chapel Hill condos, east of Green, have a fairly high turnover, as U-M graduate students, staff, and foreign visitors come and go from 425 townhouses. The newer, 291-unit Barclay Park complex is nearby.

Thurston students attend Clague Middle School and Huron High.

Bike lanes: Marked lanes on recently striped Nixon and Green funnel residents to shopping areas and U-M facilities.

Walking: Thurston Elementary has a walk score of 56 (walkscore.com), and homes in the area, with the exception of the big new apartment and condo complexes by M-14, are at least a brisk walk away from shopping.