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



Virginia Lui

Architect, Vienna

Virginia Lui is from Australia, currently living in Vienna. She has completed a three year Bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Sydney and following that a year of work experience at Neeson Murcutt Architects. Her interest is fundamentally about design, all design, and its consequences. She is a firm believer in the idea that good design is a factor in a good life. She wants to meticulously scrutinize every detail. 

Deterrent Design

Eva Mair

Spatial Planner, Vienna

Eva Mair studied Spatial Planning at the Technical University of Vienna and Political Science at the University of Vienna. Her strong personal interest lies in the connection of social transformations and the reinvention and development of urban spaces.In the past, she has worked at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Cairo and at the Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineering Consultants in Vienna.

Urban Planning
+43650 5511317

Laura Mann


Susanne Mariacher

Architect, Vienna/Salzburg

Susanne Mariacher studied Architecture at Technical University Vienna. She worked in several architecture firms as well as at the Department of Art and Design, TU Vienna. With her associates she realized and worked on various projects within the artistic and architectural field, recently at the Festival der Regionen 2015.

Urban Architecture

Jelena Maschke


Ruth Mateus-Berr

Artist / Design Researcher, Vienna

Ruth Mateus-Berr is an artist and design researcher currently based in Vienna. Her artwork deals with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary questions. She is interested and experienced in art & design education, Design Research, Design Thinking, Social Design. She is professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and head of expertise in Design at MA Social Design, member of Design Research Society, and Research directory of Sensory Studies

Former Staff member
+43 1 711 33 – 2030