Member Spotlight: Dave Litwin, The RMR Group
YLG SPOTLIGHT: Dave Litwin - Development Associate, The RMR Group
Devanshi Purohit AICP
Associate Principal, CBT
How many years have you been in the industry?
I ‘ve been in the industry for 13 years now. I went to college and worked as an architect in India, where I grew up, before moving to the United States to pursue my master’s in urban design. For the last ten years, I have been working on large-scale urban design and master planning projects.
What motivates you?
I have lived in five very different cities: Mumbai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, New York, and Boston. Each of these places has led me to fall more in love with the idea of cities and how cities are complex, messy systems that are always alive, always changing and adapting, constantly being shaped and reshaped by people who live there and people who pass through. I’m deeply fascinated by the interplay between societies, infrastructure, and our ever-changing climate. I’m motivated by the opportunity presented to designers to build on this interplay to create connected, resilient, and equitable communities.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone entering CRE?
First, be willing to leave your comfort zone. Embrace challenges and nervousness. Don’t let others define your limitations for you – more creative solutions are generated when you’re questioning the status quo. I learned this early on while working with my mentors, but it could apply to anyone starting their career.
What’s your favorite thing about real estate?
We have agency in this industry to address equity and resilience in urban environments. The impact of the work we do is tangible and long-lasting. There’s a lot of permanence to urban design, but if approached well, we can drive real and positive change in the communities we work in. I love seeing thoughtful plans for more equitable and resilient urban spaces finally realized.
What’s your biggest career accomplishment?
I am deeply proud to have worked on the award-winning and nationally recognized master plan to reimagine Suffolk Downs as a resilient, connected, and inclusive community. The plan was developed over the course of hundreds of community conversations and addresses critical community needs, serving as a prototype for how private large-scale developments can address climate change at a district-wide level.
I also received a Pinnacle Award for Emerging Executive from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in January. More than the award itself, being recognized with my fellow awardees was an even more significant honor.
Lastly, I am proud to lead our Women in Design group at CBT since 2019, which celebrates and elevates women in our industry through various programming, including physical and virtual exhibits, guest speakers, and interactive cultural activities. We also explore how real estate and design conversations can be more inclusive in terms of gender equity.
Why do you find ULI valuable?
My first introduction to ULI was through The Living With Water charrette in 2014, hosted by CBT, within my first month of moving to Boston.
I participated in The Living With Water charrette and became part of the report. That was one of the more meaningful early conversations and an early memory that I have of ULI. We later hosted the Living with Heat charette in 2019 at CBT, and I was also proud to participate and contribute to that effort.
ULI has created a lot of value for me. I’ve been especially involved with the Young Leaders Group. The YLG project visits and site walks are inspiring and their career sessions are invaluable in making connections.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to now?
We are continuing conversations around women’s history in our Women in Design group,
What are you looking forward to?
One thing that really motivates my work is the impact that we have on the communities, but I usually work on large-scale complex projects that take years to complete. It can be a long-term career fulfillment to see them built and see them function in the way that they were designed to. I’m really looking forward to Suffolk Downs being built and seeing some of the resiliency strategies that we proposed perform at a level that we designed.
We are also working on a master plan for Mary Ellen McCormack. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversations we’ve started at a community level. It’s an affordable housing community and a community-driven plan, so a lot of the design and development conversations are being shaped by many community voices. I’m looking forward to that plan being realized.