MIT’s Living Lab framework is grounded in a model of a place-based research platform that utilizes the university campus as a test-bed for research, innovation and the co-production of knowledge. The living lab concept may be thought of as a variant of the experiential learning model that involves concrete experience followed by observation, reflection and the formation of new concepts and testing in new situations.
The MIT Office of Sustainability launched on a platform that utilizes the campus as a test bed and incubator for sustainability in an effort to transform the campus into a powerful model that generates new and proven ways of responding to the challenges of our changing planet.
By leveraging the campus as a test bed for sustainability - faculty, staff, students and researchers alike are able to grapple with sustainability challenges at the local level as they seek to solve for them globally. Moreover, our staff provide access and insight to these everyday challenges in the process.
MIT has embraced a unique place-based research platform that utilizes the college campus as a test-bed for innovation and the co-production of knowledge. The living lab concept may be thought of as a variant of the experiential learning model that involves concrete experience followed by observation, reflection and the formation of new concepts and testing in new situations.
Click here to learn more about the application of the Living Lab Frameworks at MIT.
With a focus on designing solution scenarios for MIT for the short and long term, Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT, led by instructors Director of Sustainability and DUSP lecturer Julie Newman, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Tim Gutowski, engages students in project-based learning leveraging the campus as a test bed for ideas. The Spring 2022 cohort of students crafted plans to reach net zero by 2050.
On the third floor of Building E38—home to MITOS along with the Environmental Solutions Initiative and the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab—sustainably sourced and low VOC materials and finishes are tested by occupants each day. Though E38 has countless green building features, some materials on the third floor are being used in order to test their viability as sustainable alternatives for additional spaces around campus.
The Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund seeks to enable MIT community members to use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management and design. The seed funds enable teams of students, faculty, and researchers to explore the physical facility and social context in which they are working, living and learning at MIT
The Hive, MIT's new sustainability garden, is a collaborative project between the Office of Sustainability, Undergraduate Association Committee on Sustainability (UA Sustain), and MIT Grounds Services within the Department of Facilities. The Hive aims to bring the community together for sustainability education, collaborative thinking, and relaxation. Construction of the garden was completed in the summer of 2019.
The program seeks to nudge the MIT community to rethink their commute. Since it began, the program has contributed to a nearly 15 percent reduction in on campus parking demand and consistent year over year increases in employee public transportation use, surpassing its initial goal. MITOS works collaboratively with MIT Parking and Transportation, the Transit Lab, and student research fellows to analyze data and understand the current and potential impact of Access MIT.
Led by Director of Sustainability and DUSP lecturer Julie Newman, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Tim Gutowski, Exploring Sustainability at Different Scales provided an introduction to the concept of sustainable development through the UN framework on Sustainable Development Goals and from the perspectives of different disciplines, including, business and economics, science, engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
A simulation based technique to predict the amount of electricity yield from arbitrarily placing solar PV's anywhere in the world using the City of Cambridge as an example.
United under the Sustainability Incubator Fund, researchers strategize sustainable sourcing solution for crises at the local and global level.
Device Research Lab and CSAIL. With MIT Green Labs seed funding, the team developed a lab-wide wireless energy monitoring system.
UMI is a design environment for architects and urban planners interested in modeling the environmental performance of neighborhoods and cities.
Technology captures water evaporating from cooling towers; prototype installed on MIT’s Central Utility Plant.
The Department of Facilities works directly with researchers to implement sustainability projects on campus
The MIT Transit Lab has been an essential partner, combining research with operational thought-leadership on sustainable commuting options.
Researchers in the Joint Program are actively mapping potential flooding on campus.
Channels MIT’s unique culture to create solutions to environmental challenges through activities in education, research, and convening.