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



Amelie Schlemmer

Designer with focus on (social) sustainability and fashion,

"Der Mensch spielt nur, wo er in voller Bedeutung des Wortes Mensch ist, und er ist nur da ganz Mensch, wo er spielt." –Schiller
"Art is less incarnation of the real world than a strange construct we inhabit only through transmutation or self-experiment." –Gilles Deleuze
#Peace #Toilets #Dialogue #Environmental Psychology #Body #Co-Creation #Ecology #Game

Swati Soharia

Innovator - Sustainable Design , Vienna

I volunteer with disadvantaged women, training them on up-cycling and crafts design. I strongly believe in sustainable living, and work extensively on frugal innovation and sustainable design.

Katharina Spanlang

Dialogue Designer via Theatre, Mediation, Cooking and other Arts , Vienna

Born & raised in a small austrian village. Origininally educated in engeneering but always interested in participatory artistic work. Professional in mediation/conflict resolution & in activist theatre field.

Dialogue Designer

Carina Stella

Graphic Designer, Vienna

Vienna based graphic design student. Carina likes to explore the possibilities and potentials of using graphic design as a tool to question and voice current affairs. She is currently doing a guest semester to gain insight into the ways issues are tackled by other students and fields of expertise.

Raphael Volkmer

Design Generalist , Vienna, Munich, Bolzano

Raphael is a design generalist and visual communicator particularly interested in (social and material) design processes and the transformative power of design-led undertakings.

He follows, explores and tinkers with topics related to policy design, social change, activism and collaborative project developments.

He holds a BA in Art and Design from the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen and studied at the Bezalel University of Design and Art, Jerusalem

Visual communication, product design

Lukas Weithas

Social Work + Pedagogy, Agriculture, Vienna

Born in Vorarlberg, now living in Vienna, Lukas wants to be serious about the term SOCIAL-design to enrich it with experiences from a social worker’s perspective in a very practical way. Such as creating, testing or maybe even disturb urban social processes or environments on the basis of an approach of participation and alogic of distinction.