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



Sophie Bösker

Ilustrator - Filmmaker - Artist, Kempten / Vienna

Sophie`s work includes projects in fine art, video and conceptual design. All of her projects are dealing with well-researched fundamental social, political or ecological issues. The aim of her work is to deal with contemporary and socially relevant issues in a humorous and subtle way to initiate thought processes that are crucially needed in a time of capitalism, globalisation and consumption.

Literature-Arts-Media (BA, University of Konstanz), Design&Art (BA, Free University of Bolzano), Social Design (MA, University of Applied Arts Vienna)

Nadia Brandstätter

Project manager and creative consultant, Sydney/Vienna

Nadia has a BA of Arts in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney and completed a MA of Arts in Social Design in 2015. Since 2017, she has been occupied as a freelancer in the creative industries sector and has worked in the education sector. She was Co-Founder of the creative platform Oh THAT Place and most recently worked as a Project Manager for Vienna Design Week, overseeing the festival’s Social Design format ‘Stadtarbeit’ (city work).

creative industries

Florian Burger

Political adviser, Vienna

Social cohesion in societies and democracy itself depend on a certain level of (social) security. To shape and design those elemental backup systems is what pushes Florian. Process design is a daily applied technique, supported by visualization. Florian studied jurisprudence at the Paris Lodron University and Social Design at the University of Applied Arts.


Eliza Chojnacka

Designer, Vienna/Warsaw

Eliza is graduate of Product Design at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. She studied at the Design Department of the University of Economics in Izmir and at the Department of Urban Sciences at the University of Warsaw. Interested mainly in the meaning of common space and particularly passionate about working with local communities. She uses mapping as a tool to explore urban space and to visualize the sensual experience of our surroundings.

İlkin Beste Çırak

City and Regional Planner, Art and Design, İzmir, Turkey

Beste is a city planner and art designer, who produces her art based workings and public games in the realm of relational aesthetics in an open call for participation to create bases for nonviolent social change. Predominantly, taking public spaces as the core of co-exisence she discusses scales of localities, identity and culture production with synthesizing various mediums, disciplines and communities to courage fertile dialogues.

La Schandrè Coetzee

Social Designer, Vienna

Through her work in numerous community development projects in South Africa and Namibia she learned that in order for real change to foster, social development and initiatives need to be incorporated in to all facets of human life. From her perspective, Social Design is an artistic process through which one can gain deeper insight into social urban issues and through relationships with local communities, innovative and lasting impact can be born.

Communication/ Philosophy