What’s your million-dollar idea? Mayor Menino wants to know

Think you can make Boston better? Come up with an innovative idea, and the city could get a multimillion-dollar prize.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayor’s Challenge will award $5 million to the US city with the best idea on how to solve urban problems and improve quality of life.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is hoping for ideas that can increase access to technology, expand affordable energy solutions, provide for the growing senior population, or support the diversity of languages spoken in the city, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

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The quest for a better Boston comes just about a week after the Milken Institute named the city as the fourth-best place to live as people grow older. The nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank gave Boston the top spot for places to live for people over 80.

Boston is no newcomer to innovative programs. The city offers services such as Citizens Connect, which allows residents to alert officials about things like potholes and graffiti; Renew Boston, which works to help homeowners and landlords make energy improvements to their properties; and the Hubway bikeshare system.

Menino is counting on the city’s “urban mechanics” to bring forth more bold ideas. Menino has been called an “urban mechanic” because of his attention to nuts-and-bolts quality of life issues in the city.

Four runner-up cities will receive $1 million, the mayor’s office said. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 20.

The mayor’s office will review ideas submitted by outside individuals and city departments and select one for the national competition. Bloomberg Philanthropies will announce the winners in spring 2013, officials said.

Participants can share ideas at http://www.cityofboston.gov/mayor/challenge_ideas.asp