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Keywords:

  • climate change;
  • maintenance;
  • urban political ecology;
  • infrastructure;
  • experiments;
  • Bangalore;
  • India;
  • Monterrey;
  • Mexico

Abstract

Climate change governance is increasingly being conducted through urban climate change experiments, purposive interventions that seek to reconfigure urban sociotechnical systems to achieve low-carbon and resilient cities. In examining how experiments take effect, we suggest that we need to understand not only how they are made and assembled, but also how they are maintained within specific urban contexts. Drawing on literatures from urban political ecology and the specific debate on urban repair and maintenance, this article examines maintenance in two case studies of climate change experiments in housing in Bangalore (India) and Monterrey (Mexico). We find that maintenance is a crucial process through which not only urban obduracy is preserved, but also the novel and innovative character of the experiment is asserted and reproduced. The process of ‘maintaining’ experiments is a precarious one, which requires a continuous external input in terms of remaking the experiment materially and discursively. This process causes further reconfigurations beyond the experiment, changing the patterns of responsibility attribution and acceptability that configure the urban fabric.