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



La Schandrè Coetzee

Social Designer, Vienna

Through her work in numerous community development projects in South Africa and Namibia she learned that in order for real change to foster, social development and initiatives need to be incorporated in to all facets of human life. From her perspective, Social Design is an artistic process through which one can gain deeper insight into social urban issues and through relationships with local communities, innovative and lasting impact can be born.

Communication/ Philosophy

Frank Daubenfeld

Artist, Vienna / Luxembourg

Frank studied Fine Arts at Kunsthochschule Mainz and at University of Strasbourg. He works primarily in the field of painting and installation. His works revolve around movement, symbols, as well as the connections and dialogues between image carriers. He is interested in how artistic practices can make use of different mediums to create a dialogue about social matters. Social themes addressed through an artistic approach can change the perspective and challenge collective belief systems.

Fine Arts

Theo Deutinger

Architect, Author, Artist, Flachau/Amsterdam

Theo Deutinger is an architect, writer, and designer of socio-cultural studies. He is founder and head of TD, an office that combines architecture with research, visualization, and conceptual thinking in all scale levels from global planning, urban master plans and architecture to graphical and journalistic work. 

Visiting Artist / Winter Term 2021/22

Bogomir Doringer

Artist, Curator, Researcher, Belgrade/ Amsterdam

Bogomir Doringer is an artist, researcher and curator whose practice revolves around social phenomena and their manifestation on bodies and crowds. Between 2012 and 2015 he curated FACELESS, a series of exhibitions and events tackling the social meaning of the personal image. Currently, he is pursuing an Artistic Research PhD at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, with the research project I Dance Alone, investigating dynamics of the dance floor.

Visting Artist 2018/19

Eylem Ertürk

Arts Manager, İstanbul / Vienna

Having background in management and fine arts photography, Eylem has been working as an arts manager focusing on local cultural policies and socially engaged artistic practices. She is interested in research and production in visual arts to bolster cultural diversity and broaden cultural rights, participation and dialogue.

Adva Eshel