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World's Top Urban Leaders Converge On Dallas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's a big week for city of Dallas officials who hosted hundreds of cultural and municipal leaders from around the world at the New Cities Summit on Tuesday. Later in the week, they will entertain the nation's mayors.

But does all this big city attention provide any benefits to the major parts of North Texas that are suburban, with their cars and soccer moms?

The mayor Little Elm thinks so, that when it comes to residents' desires, standards originate in the Big Metropolis. "It's not just water or trash and sewer services, there are lifestyle things people expect to have," explained David Hillock. "They want parks, they want a place to be able to go with their kids for a picnic."

So Little Elm builds with an eye on pedestrian amenities, offering hiking trails on its 22 miles of lake shore and family recreational areas. There's a historic district in the offing, too. And on the drawing boards -- a new downtown complete with homes, restaurants and shops. The inspiration? "We do that by looking at what the larger cities are building from a walking district perspective and applying some aspects of that to our community," according to Hillock.

As the metropolitan area spreads out, Dallas finds itself more and more an international city. Touting a New Cities Summit Tuesday with attendees from more than 40 countries; hosting the nation's mayors later this week. Topics ranged from water, to technology to the future, according to New Cities panelist and former Dallas city council member Veletta Forsythe Lill.

"The things that are being talked about here and will be implemented later have an impact on a much larger scale."

And conversely, it's argued big urban areas need the suburbs, said New Cities Foundation Board Member Parag Khanna. "That (theoretical) city cannot survive without the people, the resources that come in that two-way flow. So what we emphasize is building that connectivity."

Thus towns such as Little Elm keep one eye on the future and the other on its dominant neighbor. "I think we're trying to appeal to folks who are used to being in a big city," said Hillock.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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