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



Maria Kanzler

Visual Designer, Vienna

Born in Steiermark, now living in Vienna. As an freelance designer, her work focuses mainly on visual communication, illustration and story telling. A strong interest in the social, political and ecological influence of design led her to continue her studies in social design. Here she now lingers, with an urge to ask questions and to make things understandable and an aim to stay curious and critical and as confused as possible. let’s unlearn from each other.

Emer Kinsella

Composer, Violinist, Innovator, Los Angeles/ Ireland

Emer Kinsella was born in Dublin, Ireland. She received Masters degrees in Social Design - Arts as Urban Innovation (MA, 2014) and in Music Composition for Media at Columbia College Chicago (MFA, 2016). Her work focuses on creating transformation within oneself and one's urban environment by using music as a power for connection and conversation within our community. She created a site-specific immersive concert in Vienna and is currently organizing one in Los Angeles where she lives today.


Klaus Kodydek

Urbanist, Vienna

Klaus Kodydek has a background in Architecture and Urbanism. He has started his academic career as a urban planning researcher at TU Vienna. His personal and professional interest focuses on urbanism and public space.

Urban Architecture
+43 699 186 715 07

Lena Kohlmayr

Architect, Vienna

Lena Pauline Kohlmayr seeks to combine different fields by translating theory and social concepts into spatial manifestations in architecture and art. She has an affinity to networks and their translations in various mediums. Different cultural contexts have coined her approach and range from an isolated village in the countryside of Austria to urban concentrations like Tokyo.


Sally Kotter

Industrial Designer, Munich

Sally studied Industrial Design at the University of applied sciences in Munich. In Social Design she focused on the city as an accumulation of different spaces for various needs, the interrelation of the identity of the city and city dwellers, and habits used to aquire individual and collective space. Currently she ist working at an NPO engaging in education for sustainable development in Munich to develop projects to motivate fellow citizens by offering joyful, interactive options for action.


Sebastian Kraner

Film Maker, Vienna

Every „social“ work coming out of the arts has a totally different context and field of influence than, for example, the work of NGOs. There is the need for both. Social Design means using existing structures but also implementing new ones. It is connecting and allowing different ways of thinking and practice to develop new methods - which hopefully allow us to overcome the immanent powerlessness in current and future developments of a quite twisted world.

Fine Arts