Too much recent news from cities has been about corruption and other unseemly scandals. But the uncovering of sickness at the top of the municipal political chain threatens to obscure the deeper issues we need to confront if we are to ensure our cities remain liveable. How do we preserve the economic and social fairness that made our cities good places to live in the first place? Will smart technologies make cities run better? Are the arts a no-longer-affordable indulgence, or are they a core expression of the urban spaces we share? And, above all, can we give our cities the political freedom to respond to 21st century challenges?