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The momentum building in the Buffalo region is attracting noteworthy praise and interest, and for that we’re grateful.

We hope our honored guests are enjoying themselves and getting as energized about the future as we are, as well as soaking up the history preserved here.

The more than 1,200 people who have registered for the Congress for the New Urbanism’s four-day national conference, which began Wednesday, will get to hear national and international experts on city living. And those experts will do it from the platform of Buffalo and surrounding communities that have spent tremendous effort on urban planning.

Besides the stunning progress of downtown and the waterfront, which is tangible, there have been efforts such as Buffalo’s proposed, urbanism-influenced zoning code that could soon be a national model. The city’s “complete streets policy,” which calls for adding 10 miles of bike lanes a year, is already making a difference in the mind-set of those living and working here.

As Buffalo Niagara Partnership President & CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen said, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the National Trust are looking at Buffalo through the same lens: Great things are happening, but it’s not yet finished. These groups want to weigh in, which is exactly what this week is about, and it is welcomed.

When the business opportunity of hosting this week’s conference was brought to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, officials there looked at it the same way they did with the preservation conference. That is, as an opportunity to showcase Buffalo’s progress and to get input at this critical juncture of this area’s development from the foremost authorities in the world.

It’s a win on all levels, from the economic impact to branding, where people of influence who can testify to the things happening here. And these people can observe the area’s raw materials and inform our future in a meaningful way.

Just as with the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference, in which visitors three years ago marveled at what the Buffalo area contains, so, too, will those attending this week’s conference. It is important that public officials stay on the path of smart growth, people-first development and preservation of the neighborhoods.

Moreover, having walkable, sustainable neighborhoods is strategically important as statistics finally show the community is trending a bit younger.

Hosting the Congress for the New Urbanism’s four-day national conference is part of a much bigger strategy of repositioning Buffalo as a city of the future. Its beginnings are on display.