If you are or have a teenager...
Neuroscientists and developmental psychologists tell us that two different neural and psychological systems interact to turn children into adults. As children, their brains are wired to depend on adults, necessary for their survival. At puberty, this brain wiring breaks down as they rewire to learn to depend on themselves and other adults as equals. While they go through this process of change, modern society seems utterly unprepared to assist and support their passage to adulthood. Where once teens had rites of passage that brought them into the adult community, they now are left to their own devices without adequate judgement to determine what is good and what is bad for them.
The VillageTown offers a more supportive environment. As children they will have lived in one of the villages, gone to school in classrooms on the plaza and played with other children nearby. When they become teens, they graduate from the plaza classrooms to a central high school in the cosmopolitan Town Center. This enables them to get away from their childhood territory, meet other peers from other villages, but to do so in a safe, car-free environment surrounded by adults and the rest of the community. The high school will have three or four colleges: academic, vocational, creative arts and high technology. It will be strongly supported with apprenticeships and internships in which teens learn to interact with adults in a working environment.
For teens fascinated with automobiles, while they will not drive within the VillageTown, the motorpool will include both instruction and most likely a teen and young adult car club. However, with most social activity occurring within the 10,000 population VillageTown, parental fear of that phone call from the police is lessened. One of the more likely attractions for teens will be the youth zone. Affordable housing for young adults is a priority within the VillageTown, and in surveys, those young adults expressed a desire that such housing be clustered in a zone rather than scattered throughout. This would enable them to enjoy noisier pursuits such as dancing in the streets, without disturbing others. Other areas of safe attraction will include the sports fields and other outdoor activities in the surrounding greenbelt.
In all of these intentional designs, constant contact with adults is a core feature. Teens will have many more opportunities to experience the adult world, learn from it and participate in it. They will be outdoors more, and in other peoples homes and in public places because of proximity and activity. The VillageTown is a place where autonomy and independence is experienced from a very young age. Because it is safer, parents feel more comfortable letting their children explore and range further. In the teen years, this becomes especially important, as teens seek such autonomy but too often do not know how to experience it and lack the role models and rites of passage to enjoy it. The VillageTown provides this.