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



Que Chi Trinh

Industrial Designer, Vienna

Que Chi Trinh comes from the largest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh city. She is an industrial designer worked in furniture design. On the other hand, she spends her time for researching psychology, philosophy and sociology. In 2012, she began to teach at the university and focused on the interaction between social change and design, human psyche/physiology and design, as well as on sustainable material and design.

Urbanism/ Psychology

Maria Tsaneva

Graphic Designer, Sofia

Interested in the process of investigating and experimenting, as well as concentrated on using design as a means of presenting social messages. Keen on creating and organizing projects for youths with the belief that artists have the skills and knowledge to be mediators in the process of investigation in order to reach even the youngest members of society.

Layout, Photography
+43 650 5925961

Herwig Turk

Artist, Vienna/Lisbon

Herwig Turk lives and works in Vienna and Lisbon. His projects probe the interconnectivity of the fields of art, technology and science. Since 2010, he has been artist in residence at the Instituto da Medicina Molecular (IMM), Lisbon. His work has been shown at venues like the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Seoul Museum of Art and many more. His most recent exhibition "Landscape=Laboratory" took place at the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art (MMKK).

Fine Arts

Asia Valencic

Researcher, Vienna

Asia was born in Trieste, Italy in 1991. Since many years she has been interested in exploring the ways through which design changed and impacted our society. After her studies in graphic design and visual communication, she has been developing her research exploring the concepts of commoning and nomadism with a special focus on social interaction.

Visual Communication

Raphael Volkmer

Design Generalist , Vienna, Munich, Bolzano

Raphael is a design generalist and visual communicator particularly interested in (social and material) design processes and the transformative power of design-led undertakings.

He follows, explores and tinkers with topics related to policy design, social change, activism and collaborative project developments.

He holds a BA in Art and Design from the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen and studied at the Bezalel University of Design and Art, Jerusalem

Visual communication, product design

Lukas Weithas

Social Work + Pedagogy, Agriculture, Vienna

Born in Vorarlberg, now living in Vienna, Lukas wants to be serious about the term SOCIAL-design to enrich it with experiences from a social worker’s perspective in a very practical way. Such as creating, testing or maybe even disturb urban social processes or environments on the basis of an approach of participation and alogic of distinction.