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



Anna-Sophia Unterstab

, Hamburg

My focus is on socially engaged design as well as on critical and feminist design theory (Design Justice).

In collective projects I am exploring the social and political potentials of design. I studied various forms of design in Hamburg, Budapest, Halle and Vienna. Currently I am finishing my master’s degree at the HFBK Hamburg and organizing workshops and a summer school that explore the positive potentials of the topics vulnerability, interdependence and care.



Experimental design, social design and communication design.

Asia Valencic

Researcher, Vienna

Asia was born in Trieste, Italy in 1991. Since many years she has been interested in exploring the ways through which design changed and impacted our society. After her studies in graphic design and visual communication, she has been developing her research exploring the concepts of commoning and nomadism with a special focus on social interaction.

Visual Communication

Ana-Marija Vašiček

Landscape Architect, Vienna

Before Social Design she studied Landscape Architecture in Zagreb.The Scope of her work ranges from self initiated and commissioned landscape architecture and urban design projects to personal and student projects executed in various artistic and design media. Her interests are visual data representation, maps, systems and other methods of artistic analysis, exploring the intersection on which space and society meet each other. She participated in group exibitions in Austria and Croatia.

Artistic Analysis

Anna Vasof


Anna Vasof is an architect and media artist. She studied architecture at the University of Thessaly (2010) and Transmedia Art (2014) at the University of Applied Arts. Since 2004 her videos and short movies have been presented in several festivals, some of them winning distinctions. She’s currently writing a Ph.D. thesis about an animation technique that she develops and is designing and building innovative mechanisms for producing critical and narrative videos, actions and installations.

Juan Carlos Vértiz Márquez


Raphael Volkmer

Design Generalist , Vienna, Munich, Bolzano

Raphael is a design generalist and visual communicator particularly interested in (social and material) design processes and the transformative power of design-led undertakings.

He follows, explores and tinkers with topics related to policy design, social change, activism and collaborative project developments.

He holds a BA in Art and Design from the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen and studied at the Bezalel University of Design and Art, Jerusalem

Visual communication, product design