Inspired by the increasing burden of lung associated diseases in society and an growing demand to accommodate patients, great efforts by the scientific community produce an increasing stream of data that are focused on delineating the basic principles of lung development and growth, as well as understanding the biomechanical properties to build artificial lung devices. In addition, the continuing efforts to better define the disease origin, progression and pathology by basic scientists and clinicians contributes to insights in the basic principles of lung biology. However, the use of different model systems, experimental approaches and readout systems may generate somewhat conflicting or contradictory results. In an effort to summarize the latest developments in the lung epithelial stem cell biology, we provide an overview of the current status of the field. We first describe the different stem cells, or progenitor cells, residing in the homeostatic lung. Next, we focus on the plasticity of the different cell types upon several injury-induced activation or repair models, and highlight the regenerative capacity of lung cells. Lastly, we summarize the generation of lung mimics, such as air-liquid interface cultures, organoids and lung on a chip, that are required to test emerging hypotheses. Moreover, the increasing collaboration between distinct specializations will contribute to the eventual development of an artificial lung device capable of assisting reduced lung function and capacity in human patients.