Generations of urban planners, social workers and officials have broken their heads on the question of how to improve social cohesion in disadvantaged urban areas. Creating a currency for the local community may be an interesting solution. A great example is 'Makkie', a new peer-to-peer economy in the Indische Buurt (Indian Quarter) in East Amsterdam that was introduced a few months ago.
How does it work? Neighborhood residents can earn ‘Makkies’ by doing a chore for their neighbors or local organizations. This can be anything, varying from fixing someone’s computer to volunteering at a film festival or painting a hallway. Every hour of work will earn you one Makkie. Makkies, which look like real money, can be redeemed for discounts on products at local shops, free movie tickets, fitness courses, you name it.
The Makkie website functions as a marketplace for peer-to-peer services where locals can post an ad for help or offer their services to others. The concept was introduced by Qoin, an Amsterdam-based company that implements and manages professional community currencies with the aim to reach sustainable economic growth, ecological balance, and social progress. Click here to learn more about community currencies.