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



Cosima Terrasse

Artist, Paris/Vienna

Cosima Terrasse is an artist and social designer from Paris, currently based in Vienna. Her work is inspired by a range of themes and knowledge nuggets she gathered during landscape architecture studies, Classe Préaparatoires, and the Social Design Master at Angewandte. She is interested in what’s the point and negotiating complex identities.

Former Staff member
Philosophy/Landscape Architecture

Theresa Binder


Enrico Tomassini

Architect, Florence

Rooted in Architecture and Cinema. His interests naturally broadened out to societal issues overtime. He studied film direction and screenplay in Florence and later on got engaged in documentary movie making.Throughout the last seven years he has been engaged in several associations, collectives and groups carrying out projects of different sorts that ranged from bottom-up editorial projects to workshops and self-made architectural installations in public spaces.

Architecture, Film Making

Que Chi Trinh

Industrial Designer, Vienna

Que Chi Trinh comes from the largest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh city. She is an industrial designer worked in furniture design. On the other hand, she spends her time for researching psychology, philosophy and sociology. In 2012, she began to teach at the university and focused on the interaction between social change and design, human psyche/physiology and design, as well as on sustainable material and design.

Urbanism/ Psychology

Maria Tsaneva

Graphic Designer, Sofia

Interested in the process of investigating and experimenting, as well as concentrated on using design as a means of presenting social messages. Keen on creating and organizing projects for youths with the belief that artists have the skills and knowledge to be mediators in the process of investigation in order to reach even the youngest members of society.

Layout, Photography
+43 650 5925961

Herwig Turk

Artist, Vienna/Lisbon

Herwig Turk lives and works in Vienna and Lisbon. His projects probe the interconnectivity of the fields of art, technology and science. Since 2010, he has been artist in residence at the Instituto da Medicina Molecular (IMM), Lisbon. His work has been shown at venues like the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Seoul Museum of Art and many more. His most recent exhibition "Landscape=Laboratory" took place at the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art (MMKK).

Fine Arts