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



Martin Färber

Experimental Designer, Vienna

Martin Färber is a Vienna-based designer and artist. Seeing design as a non-profit tool for social innovation, his approach is inspired by the concepts of modularity, open source, natural growth, participation and social interaction at the interface between arts and science. His work is ranging from open design systems to interventions in public space, social design projects and critical design works.

Design (Assistant)
+43 (0) 650 935 99 11

Brigitte Felderer

Curator / Cultural Theorist , Vienna

Brigitte Felderer
 works as a curator and cultural theorist. Her projects and texts focus on themes within the field of cultural history, media history and history of science and have been shown respectively published internationally. One of her last projects „The Last Things in Life. An Exhibition about Death and Mourning 1765-2015“ has been shown at Hofburg Innsbruck 2015/16.  

Head of Department
+43 1 711 33 – 2778

Elina Kränzle

Urbanist, Vienna

In her interdisciplinary research, Elina Kränzle investigates processes of urban social change as they emerge in lived experiences, discourses, as well as in specific social, cultural and political contexts. As a doctoral candidate at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, TU Wien, she explores different phenomena of space production by the nation-state in Vienna linking discourses on nationalism and urbanization as constitutive forces of contemporary societies.

Urban Studies

David Schessl

cultural worker, performer, DJ, Vienna/Klagenfurt

Since 2011 David Schessl was part of projects dealing with parkour, public spaces, vacancy, hip hop and club culture. Within this context, he founded Urban Playground – a platform with the aim to support subcultures in Carinthia. Currently, he is working with the collectives einzigMARKTig and KUZO. He graduated in Social Design in 2021 and now runs the Social Design Stadtlabor and supports the team with his technical expertise.

Christina Schraml

Urbanist, Vienna

Christina Schraml is a Vienna-based urbanist (practice and theory), whose work is situated at the intersection urbanism and arts/culture. She holds a master of Arts in European Urban Cultures and a master of Philosophy. Since 2012 Christina teaches at Social Design/ Angewandte. She is interested in urban phenomena, cities and their people, and the gap between the actual and the possible.

+43 1 711 33 3563

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair

Artist, Vienna

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair is a visual artist, researcher and curator. Between 1999 and 2009 she studied painting and sculpture in Nuremberg, Berlin and Vienna. Since 2004 Shapiro-Obermair lives and works in Vienna. In her works she questions critically appropriation of historical narratives, dealing with post-factual knowledge, and interaction of form and ideology.

Her works have been shown in Austrian and international museums and galleries.

Fine Arts, Soviet Modernism, Memory Culture