The general consensus in the housing industry is that there is a need for innovation. The industry has been slow to innovate and many have now started adopting strategies to incorporate innovation into normal business process.

However, as this New York Times editorial piece points out, maintenance is terribly important. How can you keep your sights on both?

It’s been a bad summer for maintenance, especially in New York. Last month Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, underscoring a problem that New York subway riders understand all too well: The M.T.A. relies heavily on emergency repairs because it does not conduct sufficient preventive upkeep. Likewise, in the wake of two recent derailments that caused major disruptions, Pennsylvania Station this month closed aging tracks for repairs and reduced the number of trains serving the station — another example of the costs of neglecting maintenance.

Sadly, the neglect of maintenance is not limited to New York, public transit or this summer. All varieties of American infrastructure — roads, bridges, airports, sewers — are in decrepit condition. Lead poisons the water systems of Flint, Mich., and hundreds of other cities and towns across the nation. The American Society of Civil Engineers considers 17 percent of American dams to be “high hazard potential,” including the one outside Oroville, Calif., that nearly collapsed in February.

Why are we in this predicament? One obvious answer is that officials in federal, state and local government do not allocate the resources necessary for preventive maintenance. But their inaction is a symptom of a deeper problem, one that is too seldom discussed: Americans have an impoverished and immature conception of technology, one that fetishizes innovation as a kind of art and demeans upkeep as mere drudgery.

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