Urban Living Lab

Virginia Tech has implemented a Living Lab model in the D.C. metro area for education and research that engages in finding solutions for critical problems facing communities both locally and around the world. In effect, the Living Lab extends Virginia Tech’s land grant mission, with roots in rural America, to the urban setting. The Living Lab leverages full-time interactions between practitioners, researchers, and students in a real-world learning environment that integrates co-creation, exploration, testing, analysis, and innovation in operational settings. Strong working relationships with a number of local jurisdictions provide a solid foundation for this initiative. For example, through Virginia Tech’s partnership with Arlington County and the county’s new fiber infrastructure, “Connect Arlington,” we are literally wired to local government, industry, and the public in a network where our students learn while immersed in the operational systems that sustain a thriving metropolis and where research thrives.