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



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

Fabio Spink


Christoph Steininger

Social Sciences/ Artist, Vienna

Christoph Steininger is an alumni at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation). He completed his Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and Humanities and is an active volunteer in diverse grassroots movements. His main interest is the connection of art and social change.

+43650 450 11 05

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.

Frida Stenbäck


Elisabeth Stephan

Trendsetter, New York/ Vienna

Photographer with interest in analoge techniques, many-media artist and PhD student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. Currently working on her dissertation on photography as a visual mode of communication in confluence with advertising and social media technology. Elisabeth often travels where her camera and love for foods takes her (she is a skilled chef in a variety of cuisines & cocktails).

Photography/ Visual Communication
+43 69917611065