The format Stadtarbeit has been an essential part of the program for many years and takes place with the support of the Erste Bank sponsoring program – Vermehrt Schönes! – and in cooperation with Caritas Vienna. The format is dedicated to the field of social design and supports the lively exchange and growing dialogue around this topic.

Stadtarbeit supports projects that use design tools to deal with social issues. This includes the analysis of urban and social spaces, the improvement of the coexistence of different social groups or the living conditions of minorities in the city. The projects take place in public spaces and should be accessible to and understandable for the public.

Concepts in cooperation with Caritas, other NGOs or associations and platforms in the respective focus district are particularly welcomed.


Austria's largest curated design festival invites

designers / architects / artists / city planners / community strategists / professional creatives / developers / critical thinkers / activists / urban enthusiasts / …

...to submit proposals to the social design format Stadtarbeit of VIENNA DESIGN WEEK and the Erste Bank Social Design Award 2023.

Submissions are required to deal with the theme INTERVENTION! in a way that combines activism with design over the course of the ten-day festival. The ideas and concepts should point out undesirable social, institutional, ecological or economic developments through targeted actions and present design solutions for positive change.

Three selected projects will be provided with an implementation budget of 4.000€ (incl. VAT) each with the support of the Erste Bank sponsoring program – Vermehrt Schönes!

Application deadline: 01 May 2023

  1. Fill out the contact form
  2. Write a project proposal
  3. Send everything to stadtarbeit@viennadesignweek.a


Viktoria Hauser
Stadtarbeit Project Manager

Open Call
Contact form
Project application

Social design as activism

"We need to talk..." – and do something! When we can no longer accept grievances, the time for an intervention has come. Or many interventions. Since most problems are not triggered by individuals, but are the result of global interactions, misguided social developments or political processes, practices of resistance need to be just as diverse. Which means are available to individuals in order to actively intervene in the face of such complex systems?

Social design is not only able to identify problems, it can also direct public perception towards them, encourage the will for change and offer solution strategies. It can point out the invisible and highlight what is conveniently being ignored. Social design attempts to level out power imbalances and to send uncompromising messages without losing sight of complexities.

In the format Stadtarbeit, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK, with the support of Erste Bank, is looking for social design projects that direct attention to undesirable social, institutional, ecological or economic developments. This year's edition of Stadtarbeit aims to act in order to compensate for imbalances and to initiate positive change: striking, activist and radical, if necessary.

The focus is on interventions take space in the city and on empowering local communities through participation and co-creation. By entering into a dialogue with residents of the city, creative interventions should make urgent problems a public issue and communicate them to the outside world through joint action.


As part of the Stadtarbeit format of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2023, the selected projects will be awarded the Erste Bank Social Design Award. The participation and realization of the project at the festival is made possible by a positive jury decision. The three winning projects selected by the jury will be provided with an implementation budget of 4.000€ (incl. VAT) each.


Stadtarbeit enables innovative and design-minded groups and individuals to explore ideas and develop project concepts as part of VIENNA DESIGN WEEK, thus reaching both a design-interested professional audience and local communities. Anyone interested in pursuing new approaches or developing existing projects for VIENNA DESIGN WEEK is welcome to apply.

VIENNA DESIGN WEEK/Kollektiv Fischka/Marcell Nimführ