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



Bernd Rohrauer

cummunity based socialwork, social sciene, trick-film animation /editing / compositing, 1200 Vienna

I see myself as a found footage worker based on the sources of arts, social science, etc. to be combined in the fields of social interaction. I don’t care too much about authorships and trust in the power of community synergies and open sources.

Thomas Matthias Romm

Architect, Vienna

Thomas Romm is a civil engineer and pioneer in resilient architecture. He is a co-founder of BauKarussell - a cooperation network for social urban mining. He teaches ecology for architects at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at the Institute for Art and Architecture (IKA). Some of his work has recently been published in the “Manual of Recycling” (2019). He also contributed to the social design reader #3 “Circular Change: 42 richtungsweisende Gespräche” (2019).

Resilient architecture and circular economy

Julijana Rosoklija

Multimedia Designer, Vienna

A pragmatic daydreamer who loves paper and pencils, (inter)action & combining different traditional techniques & media in order to create relevant works in a digital & highly developed society. The purpose of design has changed in time from a purely decorative & somewhat informative one to one that should provoke action & make an impact on everyday life. A concept is good, a result is better.

Stop motion and graphic design

Barbis Ruder

Media and Performance Artist, Heidelberg / Vienna

Barbis Ruder uses her body and her artificial corporate bodies to mix topics like economy, work, intimacy and convention into complex, but also minimalistic and reduced compositions that take shape in performance, installation, video and sculpture. As fine artist she is both creating work for exhibition spaces as well as for the stage. Her performances are always staged and related to the variety of media and form: from the body to the moving image, sound, sculpture and installation in space.


Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber

Artists, Vienna

Vancouver- and Vienna based artists who collaborate on projects addressing the politics of how cities, architecture and urban territories are made into images. With Canadian writer Jeff Derksen they founded the cultural research collective "Urban Subjects". Sabine Bitter is Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts.

Visiting Artists 2018

David Schessl

cultural worker, performer, DJ, Vienna/Klagenfurt

Since 2011 David Schessl was part of projects dealing with parkour, public spaces, vacancy, hip hop and club culture. Within this context, he founded Urban Playground – a platform with the aim to support subcultures in Carinthia. Currently, he is working with the collectives einzigMARKTig and KUZO. He graduated in Social Design in 2021 and now runs the Social Design Stadtlabor and supports the team with his technical expertise.