Belfast successfully trialled a community currency mobile app which enables people to earn ‘Civic Dollars’ for the time they spend in local parks.

Through their Amazing Spaces, Smart Places project, Belfast City Council is exploring how data and innovative technologies can help manage parks and open spaces, ensuring they are safe, accessible and enjoyed by all.

With funding through the Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative, and support from the Department of Justice, the council worked with two small businesses – Moai Digital Ltd and SparroWatch – to develop and trial innovative solutions in local Belfast parks and open spaces during summer and autumn 2021.

The Small Business Research Initiative enables the public sector to tap into new ideas and technologies created by innovative local businesses. It also provides innovators with a great opportunity to trial and test their prototype in a supportive real-world environment as part of their product development.

What is the Civic Dollars app?

Civic Dollars, developed by Moai Digital Ltd, is a community currency app which enables people to earn ‘Civic Dollars’ for the time they spend in local parks, as well as reporting issues such as vandalism.

Once you’ve earned enough Civic Dollars, you can exchange them for various rewards such as a gym pass, travel card or visitor attraction tickets. You can also donate your Civic Dollars to a local community group and they can use them to access various services such as training, professional services and activity centre sessions.

You can download the free Civic Dollars app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Why trial the app?

The app aims to encourage citizens to be more active in their local parks and open spaces and improve their lifestyle.

The insights generated through the app, which uses geo-fencing technology and is based on a social cryptocurrency platform, are helping the council to better understand how people use green spaces in the city, improve park management, reduce vandalism, littering and anti-social behaviour, and enhance the visitor experience.

The app also provides a promotional platform for local businesses that choose to provide rewards and incentives, and supports local community groups.

Results of trial

The trial finished in October 2021 and we will update this page with the results by December 2021.

A trial of the Civic Dollars app took place in various Belfast parks from 3 June – 31 October 2021. To take part, users simply:

  1. Downloaded the free Civic Dollars app from the App Store or Google Play Store
  2. Used the app to ‘check in’ to Connswater Community Greenway, Falls Park, the Waterworks or Ormeau Park and earn one Civic Dollar for every half hour you spend in the park (daily limit applies)
  3. Exchanged their Civic Dollars for rewards or donated them to a local community group.

More information

For more information on Civic Dollars, visit www.civicdollars.com.