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20 Game-Changers that are redefining the west. Best places to live

THE WEST IS KNOWN FOR​ a lot of things (big skies! wide-open spaces!), but let’s face it: What’s defined this part of North America more than anything else is the sense of opportunity. Better ways to live. New technology. Visions of the future. So where is the innovation happening right now? We began by researching maverick towns and cities (beyond perennial centers of change such as Los Angeles and san Francisco) that are investing in tomorrowland industries, community models, and ideas. We then crunched the numbers, taking into account census data, housing prices, and jobs to see which are truly the best value and most livable.  Once we found our finalists, we dug deeper, asking community leaders and families who’ve recently moved there: What makes your town the best? Whether you’re looking to boost your career, get back to the land, or start over again with pioneer determination, these are the 20 communities (5 top winners and 15 runners-up) that exemplify Western can-do.

Sisters, OR
Population: 2,573
Median home price: $426,000
​This outpost in view of the 10,000-foot Three Sisters peaks has a rough and rowdy western vibe, as evidenced by its high school, where kids study aviation, guitar-making, and firefighting.