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



Jennifer Helia DeFelice

Artist, Brno

Jennifer Helia DeFelice is an artist, performer, musician, curator and translator. She graduated from Empire State College, SUNY with a degree in New Media: Employment and Development. From 1993 she has been working as an assistant at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology in the Video-Performance-Multimedia Studio. She currently teaches and is a doctoral candidate at FaVU where her sphere of expertise is in early video and performance art and the interpretation of scores.

Visiting Artist / Summer Term 2017
Media and Performance Art

Isin Önol

Curator, New York/ Vienna

Isin Önol (1977, Turkey) is an independent curator primarily working in Vienna since 2009. Before that, she leaded the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art as its director and curator in Istanbul for three years. She is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and has been invited to work as a visiting scholar for a year at Columbia University, New York.

Visiting Curator / Summer Term 2017
Cultural Studies

Anton Falkeis

Architect, Vienna

Anton Falkeis studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he graduated in 1986. He is a licensed architect in Austria and Liechtenstein. His architectural work has been widely published and exhibited. Anton Falkeis is a JSPS fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He published theoretical papers such as "Featureless City", "Western Styles and Eastern Mind", "Film as Preview" and "Urbanizing the World".

Staff / Until Summer Term 2016
+43 1 711 33 – 3560

Barbara Holub

Artist / Architect , Vienna

Barbara Holub is an artist, architect and researcher based in Vienna. With Paul Rajakovics she founded transparadiso, a transdisciplinary practice for socially engaged urbanism: direct urbanism. Visiting artist at the Dept. Social Design (2015/2016), lecturer at the Vienna University of Technology.

Visiting Artist
Summer Term 2014 - Summer Term 2016
Direct Urbanism

Daniel Aschwanden

Performance Artist, Choreographer, Vienna

Daniel Aschwanden, Swiss performer and choreographer based in Vienna. Where art meets the social: performative interventions in urban contexts, hybrid formats in public space in Europe, Asia, Africa. Body as an interface for cultural exchange using a variety of media practices in public space, black boxes and white cubes, connecting to digital space by smartphone.

Visiting Artist
Summer Term 2013 - Summer Term 2014