Who We Are

Louise Elving


email: lelving@vivaconsult.com


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA
Masters in City Planning (MCP), Department of Urban Studies and Planning

The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
MA, Committee on General Studies in the Humanities

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
BA, with Distinction in English, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

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“In order to carry a positive action,
you must develop a positive vision.”

– Dalai Lama

Louise Elving works with nonprofit, for-profit and public organizations to help them achieve excellent real estate opportunities and improve their operations.

Louise has helped create over 4,000 affordable and mixed-income homes in diverse urban, suburban and rural communities, along with related schools, commercial and community facilities. She brings both analytical and communication expertise to enable her clients to make the often complex decisions they face to reach their development goals.

She also advises local, state and national actors on the design and implementation of programs and policies to address housing needs, providing targeted research to inform recommendations.

Louise most enjoys working with organizations to find solutions to real estate and organizational challenges that align clear results with their mission. Her experience in community development across the country provides a combination of practical knowledge, political assessment, analysis and judgment to define effective, efficient ways to create properties, grow an organization, or establish productive partnerships.

Louise is also a Lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. She teaches and advises in the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies that brings mid-career planners, engineers, architects, community organizers and public officials from the developing world – Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America — to MIT for a year of education, reflection and work.

Provided strategic real estate development consulting to nonprofits and joint ventures, addressing specific development problems and initial project feasibility. Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, Boston, MA; Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, Boston, MA: Lawrence Community Works, Lawrence, MA

Led or collaborated on several business and strategic plans for large, regional housing organizations. These projects linked organizational assessment with meeting facilitation, stakeholder interviews, forecasting, and facilitated decision making. Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Boston, MA; The Way Home (formerly HAP Housing), Springfield, MA; and Rhode Island Housing, Providence, RI.

Assisted several adjacent communities in assessing whether they could benefit from creating a unified development alliance. Led a joint planning effort, creating a business plan and a regional game plan that transformed one local group into a regional development organization. Metro West Collaborative Development, Newton, MA

Prepared and taught a variety of real estate development courses both in the classroom and on-line. Topics have included creative financing strategies, assembling and managing a strong real estate development team, and working in partnerships. NeighborWorks® America, Washington, DC

Advised and supported a state-wide Massachusetts commission on improving public housing. Counseled the commission on new policies, programs and approaches to improving the operation of 45,000 units of state-supported public housing. Assisted in designing an implementation program to improve physical renovation activities throughout the state. Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Boston, MA

Researched and wrote a study on what has happened to LIHTC projects nationwide when they reach Year 15.In conjunction with Abt Associates, designed and conducted a qualitative and quantitative investigation of the outcomes for LIHTC projects as they reach year 15 of their financing, identifying whether they remain affordable, are refinanced, renovated, sold or repositioned in the market. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, PD&R, Washington, DC

VIVA Consulting / Private Consultant, Boston, MA
Principal, 2001 – present

Consultant on housing and community development, as well as business planning. Services include real estate development, community planning, policy and program design and research, as well as both strategic and business planning for non-profit and public sector organizations. Also, develop curricula and teach professional courses on multiple aspects of real estate development.

The Community Builders, Inc., Boston, MA
Vice President of Housing Development, 1980 – 2001

Directed neighborhood revitalization and housing development projects for one of the nation’s largest nonprofit real estate organizations, throughout the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. Managed comprehensive community rebuilding programs that leveraged large-scale residential development to improve social services, schools, recreation and public facilities in diverse urban areas. Supervised more than 40 development projects, creating new homes for 3,700 households, serving families with children, the elderly, people with special needs and homeless individuals, using a wide variety of public and private financing.

Office of the Court-Appointed Master, Boston, MA
Senior Planner and Project Manager, 1975-80

Served as staff to then Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Paul Garrity in a major class action lawsuit against the Boston Housing Authority. Defined how the Court could intervene to upgrade 20,000 units of public housing. Worked with public housing residents and staff to plan redevelopment of specific sites and negotiated protocols with BHA to improve living conditions.

Experience Prior to 1975

In Boston, Chicago and Jerusalem, conducted research on affordable housing finance, did financial planning for nonprofit organizations, designed job training programs, and helped design the curriculum for a “high school without walls” in Chicago.

Homeowners Rehab, Inc., Cambridge MA
Board member, 1978 – present
Board President, 2016 – present

Citizens Housing and Planning Association, Boston, MA
Board member, 1988 – 2016
Currently, Policy Leadership Council, Member

International Work

Consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the design and implementation of the US/China Housing Demonstration program in Beijing and Shanghai. In each city, this program created an innovative residential project of 1,200 to 1,500 dwellings plus open space and commercial buildings.

Consultant to the World Bank on affordable and mixed-income housing programs in Botswana, Africa.