Despite the name, restoration services are not just about cleaning and repairing. Instead, they are about rebuilding, educating, and creating community.
Historically, repair and maintenance were important sites of knowledge production. Yet, these practices’ complex political and social organization has created inequalities in the distribution of resources and profit. Moreover, it raises concerns about the geography of expertise and natural resources.
Despite the complexity of these activities, historians have begun to explore their importance. In this special issue of Transportation History, we explore how repair and maintenance were developed, how they differed from other technological innovations, and how these practices changed over time.
A central theme of this special issue is that transportation repair matters. In particular, we argue that the unequal distribution of transportation repair sites has contributed to societal inequalities. The issue also explores the role of repair in the development of urban geography. Using case studies of Sierra Leone, we demonstrate how to repair infrastructures work.
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Power of Restoration Services
In addition, we explore how the transplantation of repair knowledge, particularly about technological repair, raises questions about the geography of expertise and natural resources.
For example, we argue that it is essential to consider how crew dispatch and resources travel along with repair information to develop a framework for simultaneous service restoration. Then we propose a cell transmission model, which enables us to minimize the travel time of repair crews and mobile power sources.
Finally, we explore the affective properties of materiality, which Deleuze and Guattari suggest are a critical factor in ecological thinking. Our discussion of these concepts is complementary to our methodological approach. Finally, we suggest that the repair issue provides an opportunity to explore hidden inequalities within the neoliberal global order. Our work provides the first steps toward a long-term history of repair.