Wollongong City Council wants residents to come out when the sun goes down, calling for contributions to a new strategy to energise the city after dark.
Launched yesterday, the council has asked for submissions to a draft Evening Economy Policy aiming to bring life and vitality to the city centre between 5pm and midnight.
"The culture of Wollongong is changing," said council economic development manager Mark Grimson.
"There's lots of positives and vibrancy in the city centre, and we want to see how council can support that."
A growing cafe and small bar culture, public events such as Street Talk and Hand-Cut, and a growing interest in the arts scene has brought about a bubbling change in Wollongong's culture best evidenced by the arts precinct and Globe Lane.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the council plan would look to not only establish new ventures and events, but to support and strengthen the ones that already existed.
"The CBD should not be just 9am to 5pm. We want to see how we can use our city's assets effectively at night, as well as in the daytime," he said.
"We want to build on what's happening organically, we want the left-field thoughts from the community on how to do it."
Similar policies in cities such as Sydney and Adelaide have supported and recognised the importance of cafes, small bars, music venues, restaurants and night markets.
Cr Bradbery also cited possible updates to planning and management controls, such as the expectation that people who move into night economy zones accept the activity and traffic associated with living in such a precinct.
"We're putting millions of dollars into the new mall, so it would be ridiculous to only use it during daylight hours and not try to use it as much as we can."
George Antoniou, manager of The Living Room cafe on Keira Street, said such a policy would help support Wollongong's burgeoning cultural identity.
"I think it would bring vibrancy to the place. It's crucial that we grow and expand," he said.
"It's definitely an opportunity for business to grow also."
Submissions for the Evening Economy Policy will be presented to council in October, with the policy expected to be finalised and implemented in early 2014. To make a submission, see haveyoursaywollongong.com.au.