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



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.


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

Markus Gebhardt

Artist, Vienna

The artist and art-therapist grew up in Germany and lives currently in Vienna. He is mainly interested in deviant forms of cohabitation with a special focus on gender issues and queer culture. With his projects, he is carving out nuances of mutual understanding. The superordinate aim of his work is, to raise consciousness towards the beauty of diversity and its various possibilities for the co-existence within our society.

Art and Art Therapy

Michel Gölz

Applied Anthropologist, Vienna

Michel has studied Anthropology and is interested in applying theory to contribute to positive societal transformations. He: - speaks the languages of different disciplines and works towards a productive relationship of theory and practice. - Uses methods from the Arts to include citizens in the urban planning process. - Builds fictions of alternative living models to give an idea of where we are and where we want to go.


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

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.