Cities are our natural world, created by us and yet, in their constantly shifting complexity, almost beyond our grasp. Urbanization processes do not end at the city boundaries. Almost infinite networks, alienated communication, hasty consumption and conflicts of social marginalization or economic injustice determine our urban survival. Cities form contested spaces, whose present refers back to the past, whose power structures can be identified and also changed. It is important to predict the need for change well in advance but also to be able to react to acute crises great and small with fresh solutions.

Innovations are driven on a bottom-up basis. Not infrequently they arise at the margins of society, where established structures encounter influences from without, traditional responses no longer work, or safeguards apply to some but not to others.
The projects developed in the studio situation of our Social Design program show that societal innovation–meaning extraordinary results and unexpected approaches–becomes possible where different forms of knowledge and methods interact, where artistic acumen combines with creativity from the so-called hard sciences, where design, theory, architecture and the fine arts not only pool their strategies but also enter into confrontations and alliances that can be both risky and productive.

Innovative methods construct new meanings, strengthen responsibility and thus create the preconditions for identification with one’s own actions. Students who choose the Master’s in Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation signal their determination to play a critical and active part in influencing society and a refusal to discount the future!


The master programme Social Design Arts as Urban Innovation at the University of Applied Arts Vienna is oriented towards graduates from diverse fields of study, thereby stipulating work in transdisciplinary teams as the central teaching and learning approach in the programme. On the basis of professional competences acquired in their respective previous studies, students become acquainted with transcending disciplinary codes and thinking and working in greater interrelationships. Art in synergy with project-related scientific methods and knowledge is seen as a tool for urban innovation.

Duration and Scope:
4 semesters / 120 ECTS 
Graduation: "Master of Arts" (MA)

Download the curriculum as a PDF:  Deutsch  English



Clara Hirschmanner

Philosopher, Artist, Vienna / Linz

Clara has studied philosophy in Vienna, focusing on socio-political questions. She is investigating how our society is generating a dog-eat-dog atmosphere, in which only the winner takes it all. As an artist Clara is experimenting with different playful interaction methods and interventions in public space.

Magdalena Hubauer

Urban Sociologist, Vienna

Magdalena Hubauer is a Vienna-based sociologist. In the past years she worked on projects dealing with community building in new neighborhoods and knowledge transfer through multipliers. She is interested in discovering factors that shape and affect the everyday lifes and movements of people and in creative ways of questioning and playing with them.

Miriam Hübl

Political Scientist/Social Designer, Vienna

After studying in the social sciences, Miriam felt the urge to find more channels for applying the acquired knowledge. She understands urban space as a dense microcosm of societal conflicts and the layers of power structuring society. She uses art and artistic strategies to introduce theoretical knowledge into the real world and to put thought into action.

Critical theory

Marlene Hübner

Geography, Peace science,

During her studies she focused mainly on protest & independency movements, human rights and the usage of urban spaces. For her final thesis she was mapping vacant spaces in Klagenfurt and researching possibilities for a cultural usage of these places. Currently she works as an assistant at Galerie3 / Flux23 in Klagenfurt and Vienna, where she is responsible for the art fundus and contributes in curatorial work.

Masha Hupalo

Architect, Aarhus

Masha Hupalo is trained as an architect, with degrees from Saint-Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering and University of Applied Arts, Vienna. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree concerning urban territories, new technologies and networked infrastructures at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. Besides working for three years in architecture offices in Vienna, she took part in several group exhibitions in Europe and Asia.


Joanna Zabielska

Urban Planner/ Social Designer, Warsaw/ Vienna

Born in Warsaw, based in Vienna. Graduated from spatial planning, currently involved in Social Design at Angewandte Wien. Still searching for a balance between crazy art projects and urban planning practices. Beside community cooking, she also likes to „deep dive“ in the suburban city areas, perfroming in her car- critical suite build from old car and truck parts.

Urban Planning, Performance