Theory Course 20/21

With Brigitte Felderer

The title of the Social Design program perhaps suggests that social comes before societal. Individual commitment, empathic thinking and a willingness to help without hesitation are doubtless personal requirements for students wishing to enrol in this program. In the Social Design Studio, however, solidarity is seen as a sociopolitical category requiring out-of-the box responses.

The course focused on the changing notions of “commons” and introduced seminal texts setting a theoretical base for Social Design projects and their conceptualization. The 2020 winter term’s focus embraced both historical and actual notions of solidarity and community seen through the perspective of critical urban theory and its predecessors. The program took place in real space with an excursion to Vienna’s Karl-Marx-Hof as well as on digital platforms. The following topics were prepared and intensively discussed based on the common reading of a selected bibliography answering three tasks in changing group works:


TASK 1: Who is the author? Topic of the texts? What does the text address? What is the focus? What the aim? What context? With what arguments? What methods does the author apply respectively discuss? What data are used?

TASK 2: Please, visualize/perform/stage the discussed content!

TASK 3: Please, discuss the relation to a Social Design discourse, prepare questions to trigger a discussion.


• A “Castle of Solidarity”: the example of Vienna’s Karl-Marx-Hof

• The Necessity of Utopias and Heterotopia

• Right to the City

• The Humane Costs of Community

• Space and Segregation

• Urban Commons


Description to the image: Folder of Vienna Workers’ Olympics [Wiener Arbeiter-Olympiade], showing part of Karl-Marx-Hof’s 1100 meters long facade

Winter Semester 20/21