Belfast City Council has unveiled a mobile phone app that provides uses with rewards for spending time in local parks and open spaces.
Named Civic Dollars, it has been developed by local company Moai Digital with the support of the council and Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice (DoJ), and the first pilot of its use is taking place around the Connswater Community Greenway from 1 June to 31 August with other parks to follow.
The app records the time that people spend in the space and provides ‘civic dollars’ – based on a social cryptocurrency platform – at the rate of one for every half an hour. These can be used for rewards such as gym passes, tickets to visitor attractions and Translink DayLink passes, and donated to local community groups.
It also provides data to the council for it to better understand how people use green spaces, improve park management, enhance the visitor experience and reduce vandalism, littering and anti-social behaviour.
In addition, it provides a promotional platform for local businesses that want to offer rewards.
Spaces and places
The scheme is taking place under the Amazing Spaces, Smart Places programme, jointly funded by Belfast City Council and the DoJ via the Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative, which enables the public sector to tap into new ideas and technologies from local businesses.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “Effectively managing public open spaces is a key element in developing a safe community, where we respect the law and each other.
“The Civic Dollars pilot scheme holds the potential to deliver real benefits to local communities by using technology to improve the safe use of our parks and open spaces; something that is so important for both physical and mental health. Congratulations to all involved in this innovative pilot scheme and I look forward to hearing how it has progressed as more people use it in the coming weeks and months.”
The app is available through the Apple and Google stores.
Image from Belfast City Council