Economist and Net activist Walter Palmetshofer is a nominee in the category Data Democracy and the Green Transition, overseen by Francesca Bria.
Palmetshofer’s project focuses on the small Austrian village of Zwetll (population under 2,000) to create a scalable, data-driven plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 per cent before 2030. The data and knowledge gained there would then be presented to local municipalities in the Mühlenviertel region (population 200,000) to implement community-organized and trust-based measures to reduce its carbon footprint. As nearly half of Austria’s population lives in rural areas, the model could be replicated across the country. Building on the village’s existing social structures and self-reliance mentality, the project builds on locals’ sense of responsibility and community to achieve self-sufficient energy supply and food sovereignty as an enhancement to the top-down approach of government regulation.