Twenty-five years ago, when high technology was first introduced into real estate, a Portland, Ore.-based researcher developed a software program that allowed consumers to enter personal preferences to help them locate "their own best place."

I have been following Bert Sperling’s work ever since, mainly because his "best places" concept caught the eye of officials in cities and counties across the country, helping them understand where they stand in the eye of the consumer. Sperling has offered in-depth analysis of crime, climate, local economy and jobs, cost of living, education, transportation, leisure, arts and culture, and quality of life.

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