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



Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber

Artists, Vienna

Vancouver- and Vienna based artists who collaborate on projects addressing the politics of how cities, architecture and urban territories are made into images. With Canadian writer Jeff Derksen they founded the cultural research collective "Urban Subjects". Sabine Bitter is Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts.

Visiting Artists 2018

Nina Pohler


Nina Pohler is a Sociologist with a background in Socioeconomics and Urban Studies. Her research interests include urban studies, organization studies and economic sociology. As a trained software developer, she is also interested and involved in projects tackling the interrelation between technology and society. She is PhD Student in Sociology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, her PhD project is on coordination and valuation practices in alternative organizations.
Twitter: @NinaPohler

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

Cosima Terrasse

Artist, Paris/Vienna

Cosima Terrasse is an artist and social designer from Paris, currently based in Vienna. Her work is inspired by a range of themes and knowledge nuggets she gathered during landscape architecture studies, Classe Préaparatoires, and the Social Design Master at Angewandte. She is interested in what’s the point and negotiating complex identities.

Philosophy/Landscape Architecture

Herwig Turk

Artist, Vienna/Lisbon

Herwig Turk lives and works in Vienna and Lisbon. His projects probe the interconnectivity of the fields of art, technology and science. Since 2010, he has been artist in residence at the Instituto da Medicina Molecular (IMM), Lisbon. His work has been shown at venues like the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Seoul Museum of Art and many more. His most recent exhibition "Landscape=Laboratory" took place at the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art (MMKK).

Fine Arts