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



Mu Bo

Industrial Designer, Wuhan

Graduated from Art and Design Master Program at the Ceramic Institute of Jingdezhen in 2010. He keeps working on research of clay and glaze, and the production of sustainable material and forms. In the field of Social Design, he focuses on problems brought by the rapid urbanization of China, especially on the extinction of rural culture and how to inherit and develop the rural culture in the process of community construction.

Ceramic Industrial Design
+86 18108616647

Florian Burger

Political adviser, Vienna

Social cohesion in societies and democracy itself depend on a certain level of (social) security. To shape and design those elemental backup systems is what pushes Florian. Process design is a daily applied technique, supported by visualization. Florian studied jurisprudence at the Paris Lodron University and Social Design at the University of Applied Arts.


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

Anton Falkeis

Architect, Vienna

Anton Falkeis studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he graduated in 1986. He is a licensed architect in Austria and Liechtenstein. His architectural work has been widely published and exhibited. Anton Falkeis is a JSPS fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He published theoretical papers such as "Featureless City", "Western Styles and Eastern Mind", "Film as Preview" and "Urbanizing the World".

+43 1 711 33 – 3560

Martin Färber

Experimental Designer, Vienna

Martin Färber is a Vienna-based designer and artist. Seeing design as a non-profit tool for social innovation, his approach is inspired by the concepts of modularity, open source, natural growth, participation and social interaction at the interface between arts and science. His work is ranging from open design systems to interventions in public space, social design projects and critical design works.

Design (Assistant)
+43 (0) 650 935 99 11

Monika Farukuoye

Artist / Film Maker, Vienna

Monika Farukuoye is an artist and filmmaker living in Vienna. Her interest circles around the creation and evolution of meaning, structures of the poetic and the artistic process per se. Her films, paintings and literary works question the delimitation of the personal self and its perceptions as well as the integrity and transgression of cultural barriers.

+43 1 711 33 3562