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



Jochen Becker

Author, lecturer, curator, Berlin

He works as an author, lecturer and curator. He is a founding member of metroZones – Center for Urban Affairs. He has (co)edited several books, e.g. bignes? (2001) or Kabul/Teheran 1979ff (2006), and recently Urban Prayers (2011) as well as Faith his the Place (2012) and Global Prayers (2014). He (co)curated exhibitions such as the Urban Cultures of Global Prayers (2012/13, nGbK Berlin, Camera Austria, Graz) and Self Made Urbanism Rome (2013/14/15, nGbK Berlin, Metropoliz Rome, Maxxi Rome).

Visiting Scholar / Winter Term 2017/18
Urban Affairs

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

Sarah Borinato

Graphic designer, Vienna

I am a 27 years old Sicilian designer and singer based in Vienna but I like to define myself a ‘multi tasking person’. Why? Because I am always looking forward to something new to learn.
And most important, I have fun!

What I like to do the most is combine and integrate my two big passions, music and design. I like to work with different people and for the people and I love good food!

Sophie Bösker

Ilustrator - Filmmaker - Artist, Kempten / Vienna

Sophie`s work includes projects in fine art, video and conceptual design. All of her projects are dealing with well-researched fundamental social, political or ecological issues. The aim of her work is to deal with contemporary and socially relevant issues in a humorous and subtle way to initiate thought processes that are crucially needed in a time of capitalism, globalisation and consumption.

Literature-Arts-Media (BA, University of Konstanz), Design&Art (BA, Free University of Bolzano), Social Design (MA, University of Applied Arts Vienna)

Nadia Brandstätter

Project manager and creative consultant, Sydney/Vienna

Nadia has a BA of Arts in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney and completed a MA of Arts in Social Design in 2015. Since 2017, she has been occupied as a freelancer in the creative industries sector and has worked in the education sector. She was Co-Founder of the creative platform Oh THAT Place and most recently worked as a Project Manager for Vienna Design Week, overseeing the festival’s Social Design format ‘Stadtarbeit’ (city work).

creative industries

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.