Traditionally, extended families were the norm. The load of raising children was spread wider, and the children were an integral part of the community. When they say "it takes a village to raise the child", it's not a cliché. It's true. In villages, especially those where everyone works locally, and cars are kept out, children have hundreds of adult role models and they were safe places to roam without constant adult supervision.
Look at this photograph taken on a car-free village plaza. The baby is completely focused on the adults. That's how babies learn. Indeed, until they hit puberty and their brains begin to rewire for autonomy, children are constantly reading adults. But if those adults are somewhere else, then the child loses. Television, video and now computer screens are a poor substitute for human interaction.
While the patterns are timeless, they must be created to work.
In the MarketTown careful thought is given to the infrastructure and design to support both the child and the family, from birth until the child becomes an adult.
- Instead of daycare, parents who work can drop their children off at a facility on the village plaza which is designed for children
- Primary school classrooms are on the plaza - shopfront classrooms - and the children eat lunch in the cafe or walk home
- The design of the village plazas supports youth-elder interaction, as well as providing safe space for children
- The village plazas have integrated play areas so children can play while the adults sit nearby in the cafe
- The surrounding greenbelt is designed to support a "Tom Sawyer" or free-range childhood, where children learn autonomy and independence
- The Artist Guild Halls have both formal programs for students, as well as a process to engage interested young people
- High school is in the cosmopolitan town center when children need more independence and seek higher connection with peers
- The Academic College prepares children for University and includes local internships
- The Vocational College prepares students for a blue-collar job and includes local apprenticeships
- The Arts College serves those students for whom the creative act is their form of multiple intelligence
- The Hi-Tech College serves those unusual students whose life attraction is in technology
Youth support is an integrated part of the overall design:
- The $200 million legacy fund includes a program to ensure local businesses offer entry-level jobs
- There is a special Parallel Market for youth housing - affordable and concentrated in a Youth Zone
- As part of the emphasis on Intellectual Growth, the MarketTown focuses on attracting university extensions and think tanks that also provides youth opportunity.
- Note that tertiary education is about to undergo a major shakeup as technology redefines where and how students learn.
- The MarketTown provides the timeless social connection while the actual learning environment will move into 3D holographic experiences.