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Road Space in Hyderabad as an Urban Common: Otto Von Gierke’s Cooperative Law Applied to the Discussion on the Use of Road Space in Hyderabad

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Dienel, Hans-Liudger; Jain, Angela; Bonaker, Alva
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7200
Sector: Urban Commons
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): urban commons
cities and towns
Abstract: "In our paper we apply the theory of commons of the German law historian Otto von Gierke (1841-1921) to the actual discussion on the use of road space in Indian megacities on the example of Hyderabad. In emerging megacities like Hyderabad, urban space and especially road space is a hard-fought Urban Common. As population, real estate prices and the need for mobility is growing, pressure on road space accumulates. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, Gierke developed the idea of a common and cooperative 'German Law', which he contrasted against an individualistic 'Roman Law' in his book 'Das Deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht' (German Cooperative Law). This cooperative law emerged during the middle ages in rural communities, brotherhoods and guilds. Groups with collective consciousness developed a legal understanding of common ownership, which defined joint use of commons. This tradition, which he believed to be particularly strong in German culture, was a backbone for the success of modern cooperatives and the idea of commons since the 19th Century.The paper presents the discussion on the use of road space for street vendors, pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, two- and three wheelers during the last years, using the analytical framework of Gierke’s cooperative law. Both authors are members of a long-term applied research project Sustainable Hyderabad (www.sustainable-hyderabad.in), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. They are responsible for 'Communication and Participation Strategies', and hence develop and test new institutional arrangements to integrate citizens’ views and participation into spatial planning. Their studies have shown so far, that road-space is mainly taken by motorized vehicles and pedestrians are marginalized. These results are taken up in the successive research process: governance as well as practical solutions for equitable partake in Urban Commons, like public space and roads."

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