We couldn’t go back without visiting Kotti & Co, a community project founded in May 2012 in Kreuzberg. The tenant’s initiative Kotti & Co managed to turn a summer street fair into a permanent protest camp at the southern Kottbusser Tor. Today Kotti & Co is based in a wood-pavilion they call Gecekondu. Equipped with a Samowar, wooden tables and benches, surrounded by banners and logos, cared for by families and friends, supported by neighbors and activists. Their greatest success is having brought to the public attention and the press the housing crisis and the instances of the neighborhood, becoming a recognized interlocutor for the public administration and the inhabitants of Kreuzberg.
Kotti & Co are fighting against high rising housing rents at Kottbusser Tor and consequent expulsion of people who have been living here for decades. They protest against the inaction of the property managers (& house owner), in addition to their unwillingness to negotiate, and the inaction of Berlin’s senate concerning a rent and social housing policy. The so called “Wohnraumgesetz” (housing space law) in its current form doesn’t seem to offer concrete resources for the people living the neighborhood.
Before leaving for Torino we had a tea together with two passionate members of Kotti & Co, who showed us their communication and promotional materials ”I ♥ KOTTI” and all the art interventions they organized and hosted.