Research. Education. Discovery.

The Stone Living Lab is an innovative and collaborative initiative for testing and scaling up nature-based approaches to climate adaptation, coastal resilience and ecological restoration in the high-energy environment of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. A “Living Lab” brings research out of the lab and into the real world by creating a user-centered, open, innovative ecosystem that engages scientists and the community in collaborative design and exploration. 1 2

The Stone Living Lab is a partnership between Boston Harbor Now, UMass Boston’s School for the Environment, the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the National Park Service, and the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation that engages scientists and the community in research, education, and the promotion of equity.

The Stone Living Lab is conducting projects at a collection of outdoor spaces in and around Boston Harbor, including baseline monitoring at Rainsford Island and a pilot project at Fallon Pier at UMass Boston, to answer critical questions such as:

  • How can we ensure nature-based solutions will work in weather conditions that are more volatile and unpredictable than we’ve ever experienced?
  • How can the public help lead in implementing resilience solutions, and how can we ensure these solutions help address issues of climate justice and inequality?
  • What are the best next-generation solutions we should start investing in across the world?
  • How do we engage and collaborate with the regulatory and development community to streamline permitting and financing so that we solve these problems before it’s too late?

As a Living Lab, the partnership also engages the larger community – including students, civic organizations, and advocates– to co-develop solutions to problems alongside scientists, including challenges related to permitting, financing, and community benefits necessary for implementing the solutions we need.

Initial funding for the Lab has been provided by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation and the Cabot Corporation.
Stone Living Lab Research - Boston Harbor
Stone Living Lab Research - Boston Harbor

The Lab's Mission

To innovate and implement nature-based solutions to protect vulnerable coastal regions through a collaborative, equitable, and applied science approach.

The Lab's Vision

To create a future where people work with nature to make coastal regions resilient and adaptive to climate change while enhancing natural and built environments.

Our Guiding Principles Where Innovation Meets Land and Sea


Conducting experiments in science and engineering to increase the resiliency of natural and developed coastal systems while maximizing co-benefits and promoting ecological restoration.

Climate Preparedness

Promoting creative, equitable, and flexible coastal adaptation while preparing for and responding to climate change.


Engaging our communities in education and outreach programs that promote innovation and environmental justice, and facilitate hands-on research activities inclusive to all.


Collaborating broadly to conduct research on policy and planning, disseminate scientific findings, inform policy development, and implement the lessons learned from the Stone Living Lab.