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



Dila Demircan Ozer


Ulduz Ahmadzadeh

Artist, Vienna/Teheran

Ulduz grew up as a dancer in Teheran/Iran, a country prohibiting dance. She pursued her illegal dance career anhow whilst facing repression and arrest. She was involved in several dance and theater ensembles and studied direction at the Arts University Soureh in Teheran. She lives in Vienna since 2008 and works as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She sees it as her duty to uphold the precious cultural heritage of persian dance through her work.

Dance, Performance

Jana Alaraj

Architect, Vienna

Jana Alaraj is a Palestinian Architect from Bethlehem, currently studying Social Design in Vienna. She is looking to raise awareness, expose assumptions, provoke actions and to spark critical debates in different societal circumstances through designing alternative scenarios. After graduation in architecture, she worked as a teacher and research assistant at Birzeit University and later at the British Museum as a program facilitator for the ITP (International Training Program).

Designing alternative scenarios

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

Jochen Becker

Author, lecturer, curator, Berlin

He works as an author, lecturer and curator. He is a founding member of metroZones – Center for Urban Affairs. He has (co)edited several books, e.g. bignes? (2001) or Kabul/Teheran 1979ff (2006), and recently Urban Prayers (2011) as well as Faith his the Place (2012) and Global Prayers (2014). He (co)curated exhibitions such as the Urban Cultures of Global Prayers (2012/13, nGbK Berlin, Camera Austria, Graz) and Self Made Urbanism Rome (2013/14/15, nGbK Berlin, Metropoliz Rome, Maxxi Rome).

Visiting Scholar / Winter Term 2017/18
Urban Affairs

Robert Bettinger