Medfield, Massachusetts

Greetings from Medfield, Massachusetts, population: 12,000, median household income: $98,000. I seem to recall that when I was in high school I spent a lot of time drinking Budweiser on deserted dirt roads in this town. When I was in college my friend’s brother died of a heroin overdose in a building about a block away from the church in the photo above.

Only about 20 miles southwest of Boston, the population density here is 1.3 people/acre; Boston is 19/acre; Seattle is 11/acre. From 2005 to 2008 Seattle’s housing unit stock grew by approximately six Medfields.

How will a town like Medfield fare in the 21st Century? Currently, Medfield is among the wealthiest communities in Massachusetts. It is also completely car-dependent. Medfield, like many similar small towns in the Boston suburbs, has changed very little over the past several decades. But can it withstand the shock of a transition to carbon-free energy?