Cities are imagined not just as utopias, but also as ruins. In literature, film, art and popular culture, urban landscapes have been submerged by floods, razed by alien invaders, abandoned by fearful inhabitants and consumed in fire. The Dead City unearths meanings from such depictions of ruination and decay, looking at representations of both thriving cities and ones which are struggling, abandoned or simply in transition. It reveals that ruination presents a complex opportunity to envision new futures for a city, whether that is by rewriting its past or throwing off old assumptions and proposing radical change. Seen in a certain light, for example, urban ruin and decay are a challenge to capitalist narratives of unbounded progress. They can equally imply that power structures thought to be deeply ingrained are temporary, contingent and even fragile. Examining ruins in Chernobyl, Detroit, London, Manchester and Varosha, this book demonstrates that how we discuss and depict urban decline is intimately connected to the histories, economic forces, power structures and communities of a given city, as well as to conflicting visions for its future.