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College of Environment and Design

Katherine Melcher



Phone: 706-542-2885
Katherine Melcher

Personal Interests

Design theory, aesthetics and ethics in design, community development, public spaces, participatory and community-based design, healthy communities

Professional Registration

Landscape Architect #5154, State of California




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Biographical Information

Katherine Melcher is an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design, where she teaches courses in participatory design, social theory and design, healthy places, and urban design. Her research interests span two areas: landscape architecture theory and the social aspects of design, with a special focus on engaging communities in the design process.

Her work has been published in Landscape Journal, Landscape Review, Landscape Research Record, Town Planning Review, The Plan Journal, and New Geographies. Her piece in Landscape Research Record, “Three Moments in Aesthetic Discourse,” received the Outstanding Paper Award from the Council of Educators of Landscape Architecture in 2018.

She is a licensed landscape architect with over fifteen years of experience in community-based development and design. As a practitioner, she worked closely with community groups through private, nonprofit, and government firms in places as diverse as Togo, San Diego, CA, Thailand, and Oakland, CA. At UGA, she brings this expertise into service learning studios, design-build courses, and a lecture course on the relationship between design and society.


BA Sociology, Vassar College
MLA, Louisiana State University
PhD Candidate, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


LAND 2330    Place, Society, and Design

LAND 7050S   Engagement Studio

LAND 6040   Community and Place Studio

LAND 4120/6120    Designing Healthy Places



"Aesthetic intent in landscape architecture:  the particularity of beauty, meaning, and experience," Landscape Journal, vol. 41, no. 2, 2022.

Viewpoint: In praise of social distance in public spaces,” Town Planning Review, 2020, published online ahead of print.

Valuing the discipline: refrains and riffs,” Landscape Review, vol. 18, no. 2, 2019, pp. 5-15. 

Three moments in aesthetic discourse: from natural law to phenomenal richness,Landscape Research Record. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture conference proceedings, no. 7, 2018, pp. 70-81.

Melcher, Katherine; Barry Stiefel, and Kristin Faurest, eds. Community-Built: Art, Construction, Preservation, and Place. Routledge’s Community Development Research and Practice Series, 2017.

"Many Voices, One Project: Participation and Aesthetics in Community-Built Practices," The Plan Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2016.

“Healing Community Through Play: The Design and Construction of the Moo Ban Nua Playground,” in The Architecture of Change: Building a Better World, Jerilou Hammet and Maggie Wrigley, eds. University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque, NM, 2016, pp. 255-264.

Equity, Empowerment, or Participation? Prioritizing Goals in Community Design,Landscape Journal, spring 2014, pp. 167-182.



Service Learning Teaching Excellence Award, University of Georgia, 2022.

Outstanding Paper Award, Council for Educators in Landscape Architecture, 2018.

Grant awardee, National Endowment for the Arts, Research: Art Works, FY 2012.

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