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



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

Markus Gebhardt

Artist, Vienna

The artist and art-therapist grew up in Germany and lives currently in Vienna. He is mainly interested in deviant forms of cohabitation with a special focus on gender issues and queer culture. With his projects, he is carving out nuances of mutual understanding. The superordinate aim of his work is, to raise consciousness towards the beauty of diversity and its various possibilities for the co-existence within our society.

Art and Art Therapy

Michel Gölz

Applied Anthropologist, Vienna

Michel has studied Anthropology and is interested in applying theory to contribute to positive societal transformations. He: - speaks the languages of different disciplines and works towards a productive relationship of theory and practice. - Uses methods from the Arts to include citizens in the urban planning process. - Builds fictions of alternative living models to give an idea of where we are and where we want to go.


David Grüner

Artist and Visual Creator in Installation/Performance/Concept Art, Vienna

Coming from the mixed backgrounds architecture, philosophy and graphic-design, having worked in collectives on exhibiting in Hamburg, now operating in another collective working on similar topics based in Vienna.

Karolína Plášková

Urbanist, Vienna/Brno

Karolína has studied architecture and urban planning in Brno, Vaduz and Vienna, and Social Design in Vienna. She helped with the organization of several events, for example the "Student Organization of the Faculty of Architecture" in Brno, "Foster the City" and "Pilsen 2015 – European Capital of Culture", as well as the "urbani7e! festival" by "dérive – Society for Urban Research“.

Urban Architecture

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