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



David Grüner

Artist and Visual Creator in Installation/Performance/Concept Art, Vienna

Coming from the mixed backgrounds architecture, philosophy and graphic-design, having worked in collectives on exhibiting in Hamburg, now operating in another collective working on similar topics based in Vienna.

Silvan Hagenbrock

Urbanist and Filmmaker, Vienna / Berlin / Weimar

Graduated in Urbanistik at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, he co-initiated RAUMSTATION collective. For his Bachelor on Chinese Urbanism in Addis Ababa, he produced the documentary film CHINESE NEW FLOWER. Since 2016 he is curator and editor at STADTMACHER China – Deutschland CITYMAKERS 中德城市创者.

Barbara Holub

Artist / Architect , Vienna

Barbara Holub is an artist, architect and researcher based in Vienna. With Paul Rajakovics she founded transparadiso, a transdisciplinary practice for socially engaged urbanism: direct urbanism. Visiting artist at the Dept. Social Design (2015/2016), lecturer at the Vienna University of Technology.

Visiting Artist
Summer Term 2014 - Summer Term 2016
Direct Urbanism

Magdalena Hubauer

Urban Sociologist, Vienna

Magdalena Hubauer is a Vienna-based sociologist. In the past years she worked on projects dealing with community building in new neighborhoods and knowledge transfer through multipliers. She is interested in discovering factors that shape and affect the everyday lifes and movements of people and in creative ways of questioning and playing with them.

Miriam Hübl

Political Scientist/Social Designer, Vienna

After studying in the social sciences, Miriam felt the urge to find more channels for applying the acquired knowledge. She understands urban space as a dense microcosm of societal conflicts and the layers of power structuring society. She uses art and artistic strategies to introduce theoretical knowledge into the real world and to put thought into action.

Critical theory

Masha Hupalo

Architect, Aarhus

Masha Hupalo is trained as an architect, with degrees from Saint-Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering and University of Applied Arts, Vienna. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree concerning urban territories, new technologies and networked infrastructures at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. Besides working for three years in architecture offices in Vienna, she took part in several group exhibitions in Europe and Asia.