Russ Lopez, who once was invited to a party in the South End and never quite left after that, has come out with another book about Boston's history, Boston 1945 - 2015: The Decline and Rise of a Great World City. He will talk about it at the South End library on Tuesday, January 23 at 6:30 PM. He will be introduced by the South End's newly elected District 2 City Councilor, Ed Flynn.
A few years ago, Lopez spoke at the South End branch about his earlier work, Boston's South End: The Clash of Ideas in a Historic Neighborhood. According to his web site, his latest book is the story of how Boston, seemingly in an unstoppable downward spiral since the 1940s, somehow righted itself into something new and vastly better. Lopez is part of the informal but dedicated South End Library's historical archives group that collects information about the South End for safekeeping at the branch's second-floor archives' office. It's located next to the community room, where grand windows overlook one of those sleepy South End alleys (although the recent construction boom has enlivened that scene more than some like). The archives group represents a small cottage industry of South End historians and history buffs who have written about the neighborhood's art, culture, gentrification and urban renewal battles. Many of them have talked about their work for the South End Writes program at the library. They include South End News’s former Police Blotter scribe, John Sacco (famous for his iconic phrase, "The Scoundrel Was Arrested on the Spot"); Lynne Potts (A Block in Time: a History of the South End from a Window on Holyoke Street); Hope J. Shannon (Legendary Locals of Boston’s South End); Jean Gibran (Love Made Visible —a biography of her marriage to South End sculptor Kahlil Gibran); Alison Barnet (South End Character: Speaking Out on Neighborhood Change and the South End thriller Sitting Ducks); and Richard Vacca’s outstanding history of the local music scene (The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places and Nightlife 1937-1962).
A native of California, Lopez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University and his Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His doctorate is from the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health His research interests include urban environmental health and the role played by cities, neighborhoods and the built environment on public health outcomes. Current and past studies by Lopez include the role of neighborhoods in long-term diet and exercise interventions; the influence of schoolyard renovations on student test scores; and the association between the built environment and obesity. Lopez has published articles on the health effects of racial segregation, income inequality and urban sprawl. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health.
The event is free. Books will be available for borrowing, sale and signing. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited. The South End branch is fully handicapped accessible.