This course room serves as a platform for the City Scripts Graduate Research Group hosted by the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University Alliance Ruhr (Speaker: Barbara Buchenau, Co-Speaker Jens Gurr). The Graduate Research Group is dedicated to the transatlantic study of the scripts that explicate and authorize the history, development, and future trajectories of US American cities that lost their lifeline industries in the second half of the twentieth century. The loss of industries and the ruination of so called rust belt cities has been dramatized, fetishized, and powerfully fictionalized in the latest political campaigns. The examination of these postindustrial urban scripts from the explicit vantage point of the Greater Ruhr Region, a region and an academic environment deeply rooted in comparable struggles against deindustrialization and shrinking but diversifying populations, assesses and critiques the narrative, figurative, and medial strategies employed by municipalities, urban developers, and the creative and sustainable industries in efforts to bring about change and craft a better future in the US and in German cities that seek to learn from or avoid American examples. In these projected and proscribed futures the city is almost invariably imagined as “creative”, “sustainable", and “socially inclusive”. The study is anchored in but decisively exceeds the disciplinary fields of American Literature, Culture, History, and Media. It is based upon extensive practical and analytic field work in the German and US regions and the public institutions and private companies under inspection.