Community Currency ResearchVolume 15 (2011) Section A 69-77
DOWNTOWN DOLLARS: COMMUNITY
CURRENCY OR DISCOUNT COUPON?
University of Pennsylvania
The literature on community currencies builds on the idea that communities can create their own currency to maintain the importance of place and build social and cultural capital. Using interviews, questionnaires, and a survey, this case study reports on the ability of one experiment with community currency, Downtown Dollars, a scrip program in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to facilitate relationships, keep wealth local, and invigorate the community with a sense of place and pride. The outcome that Ardmore, through its first experiment with Downtown Dollars, succeeded in adding value to the community and making people feel proud to live and shop in Ardmore is demonstrated. The study points out, however, that while Downtown Dollars met each of the program’s stated goals, it could have succeeded to a greater extent if it had incorporated larger social goals into its strategy from the outset.