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Dubravka  Sekulić

Dubravka Sekulic´ is an architect and researcher working on the issues concerning production of space, author of Glotzt Nicht so Romantisch! On Extralegal Space in Belgrade.

Artikel aus Ausgabe 61

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Legal hacking space: What can urban commons learn from the free software hackers?

Commons are a particular type of institutional arrangement for governing the use and disposition of resources. Their salient characteristic, which defines them in contradistinction to property, is that no single person has exclusive control over the use and disposition of any particular resource. Instead, resources gov- erned by commons may be used or disposed of by anyone among some (more or less defined) number of persons, under rules that may range from ›anything goes‹ to quite crisply articulated for- mal rules that are effectively enforced. (Benkler 2003, p. 6).
The above definition of commons, coming from the seminal paper The Political Economy of Commons by Yochai Benkler, addresses any type of commons, whether analogue or digital. In fact, the concept of commons entered digital realm from the physical space in order to interpret the type of communities, relationships and production that started to appear with the development of free as opposed to proprietary. Peter Linebaugh charted in his excellent book Magna Carta Manifesto that the creation and development of the concept of commons were closely connected to constantly changing relationships of people and communities to the physical space. In this paper I will try to argue that the concept was enriched when it was implemented in the digital field, and that returning it with those characteristics and readdressing urban space through the lens of digital commons can enable another imagination and knowl- edge around urban commons to appear. The notion of commons in (urban) space is often complicated with archaic models of organization and management – »the pasture we knew how to share«. It has the tendency to give the impression that the solution is in reverting to the past models. In the realm of digital, there was no »pasture« from the Middle Ages to fall back to, and digital commons had to start from scratch and define its own protocols of production and reproduction (caring and sharing). Therefore, the digital commons and free software community can be the one to turn to, not only for inspiration and advice, but also as a partner when addressing the questions of urban commons. Or, as Marcell Mars would put it »if we could start again with (regulating and defining) land, knowing what we know now about digital networks, we could come up with something much better and appropriate for today’s world. That property wouldn’t be private, maybe not even property, but something else. Only then can we say we have learned something from digitals.« […]