Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine asset management in three cities. It is informed by polyphony as a theoretical perspective and draws on the fact-building process to explore the practice of asset management in these study settings. Design/methodology/approach – A comparative case study approach was adopted to have a broader understanding of the levels of complexity in the study of polyphony in asset management. With this aim, the three Scottish cities were analysed presenting a spectrum of city types. Findings – The paper finds evidence of polyphony. The three cases show different degrees of controversies and achievements, providing a highly variegated picture of the effectiveness in pursuing an asset management policy. Originality/value – Polyphony recognises the many voices of actors present in organisations. This perspective on asset management is an important, but relatively neglected facet of this aspect of city management. The paper provides an insight in this, showing the potential for the multiple voices of the many different actors within local government, all of whom may have distinct views on asset utilisation.