Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Alison Gilliland and Leslie Moore, Head of Parks launching Civic Dollars.

Civic Dollars: How It Pays to Visit Parks

Smart D8 project sees residents and visitors rewarded for park visits


Business, Life

Smart D8, the Health & Wellbeing Smart City District in Dublin 8, is launching its largest pilot project to date with the introduction of a new Civic Dollars community currency to encourage use of public parks and drive better health outcomes for the community.

The project, which is being sponsored by Dublin City Council, will use a smartphone app to reward visitors with Civic Dollars for spending time in participating Dublin 8 parks, which can then be exchanged for goods and services from local businesses or gifted to local community organisations.

Six parks in Dublin 8 are participating in the pilot: St Audoen’s Park, St Patrick’s Park, Weaver Park, Oscar Square in The Liberties, and Grattan Crescent Park and Turvey Park in Inchicore. All 6 parks have seen recent investment by Dublin City Council and its aimed to add further parks as the pilot progresses.

The Civic Dollars pilot will run for 5 months, and the team are hoping to attract 1,000 users in the first 2 months.

Launching Civic Dollars, Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland, noted that Dublin’s parks were an asset to the city, and the importance of access to green space for recreation and leisure has been brought home during the pandemic. “We need to encourage increased use of our parks, and the Civic Dollars project will do that while having the added benefit of contributing to local businesses and community organisations.”

According to Stephen McPeake, Founder and CEO of Moai Digital which developed the app, a successful version of Civic Dollars is already underway in Belfast, and there is a great opportunity to bring the platform to Dublin. “Users can use their dollars at forward thinking businesses like The Bike Hub, or Little Bird Café, or gift them to community groups who can then use them to pay for services like IT support or graphic design. Dublin 8 has a strong community spirit, so I’m hopeful that this concept of a new community currency both boost health and wellbeing and stimulate community engagement.”


Civic Dollars is a pilot project supported by Smart D8, following an open call for projects in March this year. You can find out more about Smart D8 at https://smartdublin.ie/smart-districts/smart-d8/ 

The technology used for Civic Dollars is non-invasive and privacy-friendly, by only using GPS data and allowing users to opt in once they enter a park. Data is anonymised, and a user’s session will end automatically once they walk out of the park geo-fence. Data gathered will be used by Dublin City Council to analyse park usage and allow for future planning and infrastructure improvements.

Here’s how it works:

Download the Civic Dollars app via App Stores or at www.civicdollars.com and register.

Check in on the app each time you visit one of the participating parks. Look out for the signs at park entrances to remind you! 

You’ll earn a Civic Dollar for every 30 mins spent in the park.

1.  As you earn, you can exchange your dollars for gifts or rewards with participating businesses. Among the companies participating in Civic Dollars by offering direct rewards to users are Epic Ireland, The Bike Hub, Mobility Genie, and Little Bird Café.


2.  You can gift your Civic Dollars to partnering community groups who can exchange them for a range of useful services such as marketing advice, IT consultations, legal consultations, and graphic design work. Participating companies include VAVA Influencers, Little Bird Yoga, Core Tech IT, Paul Saxon Consulting and Éire Graphic Design.

Community groups participating in Civic Dollars include Warrenmount Community Education Centre near Newmarket, Robert Emmet CDP who supports communities around Bridgefoot Street and Oliver Bond House, Solas Project which has a range of programmes focused on skills for young people, and Fatima Groups United, which supports the community of Fatima and Herberton.

You can find out more about participating companies at www.civicdollars.com.

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