I spent a lot of my professional career covering things related to Detroit. For the past two years, I’ve been in Chicago. It’s amazing how much the cities have in common — they were both built on manufacturing, even though Chicago always seems far more glamorous.

Now, they’re both dealing with huge problems. Detroit now looks like it could wind up in default by next summer. It might end up under the supervision of an emergency manager. Chicago is facing a $635 million budget deficit, which people here say is the 12th year in a row it’s run in the red.

On Wednesday, the city’s two mayors saw developments related to their crises. In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing asked for $40 million in union concessions, said he wants to raise the corporate tax, and proposed a series of other steps.

“City government is broken,” he said in an early evening speech.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel got a big political victory. Aldermen voted 50-0 to approve his budget, which has fee increases, service cuts and all sorts of changes from Chicago’s status quo. There was immediately concern that city council might be giving Emanuel the same rubber stamp that it used to give his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, although Daley was losing popularity just before he left office in May.

Detroit is limping and has yet to be healed; Chicago has accepted the doctor’s prognosis and begun treatment. It’s a comparison worth watching as both cities try to solve their financial crises.

It’s been a splendid fall in Chicago, with warm days, cool nights and no snow on the horizon yet. But Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, isn’t relaxing.

The city has a budget deficit of $637 million, and Emanuel is trying to get Chicago’s city council to approve a full slate of reforms. He’s had to give up for now on one of his signature demands: a longer school day for Chicago’s school children, who have the shortest school day of any big city in the Midwest.

I wrote about the new mayor and the city’s problems recently for The Atlantic Monthly’s new AtlanticCITIES page, and I’ll be keeping track of him as he tackles his wishlist.

Here’s my story. What do you think of Mayor Emanuel thus far?