Christchurch City Council has voted in favour of a grant to allow businesses to improve their surroundings.
Traditional shopping districts in the CBD and suburban centres are still struggling to get going again, after extensive damage in earthquakes.
Today's decision would mean those wanting to revamp things such as street lighting, rubbish bins and planter boxes would be able to apply to a $50,000 annual fund to do the work.
The money would be raised through a targeted rate paid by businesses within the relevant area.
The proposal will now be consulted on.