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Civic Dollars Program To Incentivise Using Public Parks

Civic Dollars Program To Incentivise Using Public Parks – Craig O Reilly looks at this new scheme by Smart D8 to encourage people to use our park

Smart D8 has launched a new project that is going to pay people to visit their local park. Well, in a sense… The new pilot project by the health and wellness initiative will run for about five months. People will be awarded a virtual currency of “Civic Dollars” for every half hour they spend in a selected park. For now it includes St Audoen’s Park, St Patrick’s, Waver Park, Oscar Square (in Dublin 8) and Grattan Park.

Each person gets one civic dollar for each thirty minutes spent in the area. The time is tracked by a smartphone app allowing Dublin Corporation to monitor use of the parks. The currency can then be exchanged as a voucher to get discounts off selected coffee, bike services and apparently… bee-keeping courses.

If people don’t want to use the civic dollars the currency can be donated to charities who in turn, can use them for free consulting, IT and graphic design support. Up to five dollars a day can be earned.

The “Civic Dollars” program has already been rolled out in Belfast, with over 3000 hours of activity registered, 1,530 dollars redeemed and 1,043 dollars donated to charity.

As much as it’s fantastic to get people taking a greater interest in their own health especially in terms of physical activity, it’s difficult not to see things like a community currency as a sign of the upcoming “gamification” of society.

The word gamification defines a system of persuasion, where we use game design concepts outside of game contexts. So instead of leveling up in a videogame you get experience points and “level up” in real life. As cringe-worthy as that sounds, we are beginning to see these “fun at work” practices become integrated into society as technology grows.

To be fair, a survey run by Smart D8 found only 40 per cent of residents are getting regular exercise and this is a project to see if people can be incentivised to get out and about more. So far the Little Bird cafe, Mobility Genie and Epic Ireland have gotten involved among others.























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