Belfast trials app-based rewards for visiting park

City tests app whose ‘dollars’ can be used for travel, visitor attractions and to support community groups

Belfast City Council is piloting a mobile phone app that rewards users for spending time in a local park.

The free Civic Dollars app will track users’ locations and reward them for each half hour spent in Connswater Community Greenway, a linear park following the course of three rivers through east Belfast, with a daily limit. The city plans to add other parks during the pilot, which runs from 1 June to 31 August.

The resulting ‘dollars’ can be spent on transport passes and tickets to visitor attractions. They can also be donated to community groups in the city, which can use them for services including business training and professional advice. The app has been developed by Ballymena-based Moai Digital.

Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl said it would help encourage people to exercise and connect with nature. “The Civic Dollars app also provides a promotional platform for local businesses, services and events – and the insights we’ll gather will help us to better understand how people use green spaces, improve park management, reduce vandalism, littering and anti-social behaviour and enhance the visitor experience.”

The pilot is part of Belfast City Council’s ‘Amazing spaces, smart places’ programme, for which it ran a funding competition with the Northern Ireland Department of Justice in 2018.

In 2019, the city launched Belfast Coin, a local version of a virtual currency run by Israeli technology firm Colu, which similarly runs through an app.

Sam Trendall

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