Living Laboratory

Virginia’s Hampton Roads region of 1.7 million people embodies the cultural, military and commercial history of America. Situated at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the most valuable estuary systems in the world, for four centuries the region has served as the naval gateway to the Nation’s capital. Home to the largest concentration of U.S. defense facilities in the world, including world’s largest naval base, and to the Port of Virginia, the third largest commercial port on the East Coast, the region is a hub for trade for the eastern third of the nation and a security nexus for the world.

Like other coastal regions, Hampton Roads faces increasing risks associated with sea level rise and recurrent flooding. The region has the highest rate of relative sea level rise along the US east coast due to a combination of rising water and significant land subsidence. Because the region is experiencing the impacts of climate change more rapidly than other coastal communities, the region has an opportunity to act as a laboratory for a resilient response to coastal challenges.

RISE acts as broker between regional assets and innovators to test resilient solutions in the region’s living laboratory.

Regional assets that are part of the living laboratory include:

  • Municipal governments in the region will offer opportunities to test ideas in city-owned spaces and provide access to city staff, information on city processes, policies and access to city data to help companies innovate.
  • The Port of Virginia is one of the largest deep water ports on the East Coast. The Port, and its supporting infrastructure, is set to expand considerably in the coming years.
  • Military installations including Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base complex in the world, Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Oceana and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Command Transformation HQ. These organizations face many of the same resilience challenges as the community.
  • Institutions of higher learning including, Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Tidewater Community College System, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), will support innovative resilience approaches by providing access to research and other assets.
  • Research organizations including NASA Langley Research Center, and The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory. These organizations have established a world-class brain trust of engineers, scientists, technicians, and small businesses in the local area, which will be a resource to the living laboratory’s efforts.