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20 most innovative cities of the West

From space tourism to green living, here's why to live in these cities now

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Tesla Roadster electric car
Photo by David Fenton

Palo Alto, CA: Creative techies

With an average of more than 180,000 patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office each year, Silicon Valley is a breeding ground of ideas. And in addition to social models and new gadgets, creative techies are focusing on how to make our lives greener and healthier.

On the horizon are more efficient, inexpensive solar panels that easily stick to laptop bags, cars, and roofs, turning urban areas from passive energy consumers into energy producers. The only electric vehicle for sale today is from the valley’s Tesla Motors, and Palo Alto–based Better Place is creating infrastructure for mass adoption of EVs, including building “charge spots.” 

Pictured: The $109,000 Tesla Roadster is powered by a 400-volt battery pack and runs at least 200 miles before it needs to be plugged in for a recharge.

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