Levin College of Law

Michael Allan Wolf

Richard E. Nelson Eminent Scholar Chair in Local Government
Professor of Law

Mailing Address:
Box #117625 Gainesville, FL 32611

(352) 273-0934


Michael Allan Wolf joined the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law in August, 2003, as the first occupant of the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law. In 2019, he was named the Richard E. Nelson Eminent Scholar Chair in Local Government. Professor Wolf has been teaching and writing for more than three decades in the areas of land-use planning, property, local government, constitutional, environmental, and urban revitalization law; and legal and constitutional history. He earned his B.A. degree from Emory University, his J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his A.M. (history) and Ph.D. (History of American Civilization) degrees from Harvard University. Professor Wolf, who was Professor of Law and History at the University of Richmond, held his first law teaching appointment at Oklahoma City University and has also served as a visiting professor, first at the University of Richmond, then at American University.

Professor Wolf is the author of Powell on Real Property (17 volumes), the most prominent treatise in the area that is regularly cited by state and federal courts. Other recent books include Land Use Law (with Daniel R. Mandelker, 2015-), The Supreme Court and the Environment: The Reluctant Protector (2012), Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook (with Charles M. Haar, 2010), Powell on Real Property: Michael Allan Wolf Desk Edition (a one-volume abridgement of the treatise, 2009), The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler (2008), and Strategies for Environmental Success in an Uncertain Judicial Climate (editor and contributor, 2005). His writings have also appeared in a wide variety of law and law-related journals (including the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Fordham Law Review), many of them contributions to symposia on topics in land-use regulation, environmental law, eminent domain, and regulatory takings. His commentaries have been featured in national newspapers and on National Public Radio.


Ph.D., Harvard University
A.M., Harvard University
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
B.A., Emory University

Teaching and Scholarship

Land-use Planning, Environmental Law, Property, Local Government, Supreme Court and the Environment, Constitutional Law, Urban Revitalization, Legal and Constitutional History

Professional Activities

  • University of Florida: Richard E. Nelson Eminent Scholar Chair in Local Government (2019- ). Joined College of Law in 2003 as Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law.
  • University of Richmond: Professor of Law and History (1993-2003), Professor of Law (1990-2003), Associate Professor (1988-90), Visiting Professor (1987-88), State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award (2001), University Distinguished Educator Award (1992).
  • Previous Academic Experience: Oklahoma City University School of Law: Associate Professor (1985-88), Assistant Professor (1982-85); Harvard University, Teaching Fellow, History and Literature (1978-81); American University, Washington College of Law, Visiting Professor (1993-94).
  • Organizations: The Florida Bar, American Society for Legal History; Former Welfare Reform Subcommittee, Virginia Commission to Stimulate Personal Initiative to Overcome Poverty; Consultant, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Property - LAW 5400
  • The acquisition and possession of real and personal property; estates in land; introduction to future interests; landlord and tenant; survey of modern land transactions and methods of title assurance; easements; and licenses, covenants, and rights incident to land ownership.
Land Use Planning And Control - LAW 6460
  • A study of the legal aspects of the allocation and development of land resources; private controls through covenants and easements; public regulation and control through zoning and subdivision regulation; social, economic and political implications of land regulations; eminent domain; selected current problems such as growth management, historic preservation, environmental regulations, and urban development.
Constitutional Law - LAW 5501
  • Introduction to United States Constitutional Law. Topics include judicial enforcement of the Constitution to preserve individual liberties; judicial review; separation of powers; structure and powers of the federal government; and federalism.
U.S. Constitutional History I - LAW6930
  • This course will explore the origins and early interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. Readings will focus on English constitutionalism, early state constitutions, the Articles of Confederation, the framing and ratification processes, and Supreme Court opinions from the beginning of the Court to Reconstruction.
U.S. Constitutional History II - LAW6930
  • The course will explore how the turbulent decades between the 1870s and 1960s witnessed significant changes in society and politics that had an impact on, and were directly affected by, the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The course will explore the give-and-take between the Court and the American people.
Local Government Law, Taxation And Finance - LAW 6531
  • Examination of the substantive and procedural law of local governments, including organization, powers, procedure, personnel, and of financing sources, including state and local taxation, special assessments, user fees and borrowing.
Race in Place - LAW 6930
  • This course will explore the ways in which American property law has contributed to and reflects structural racism against African Americans and other minorities. Topics include slavery and common-law doctrines, eminent domain abuse, redlining, urban renewal, exclusionary zoning, and racially restrictive covenants.



  • Powell on Real Property (17 vols., author, 2019-; gen. ed. 2000-2019) [Link]
  • Land Use Law (6th ed.) (with Daniel R. Mandelker) (LexisNexis, 2015-) [Link]
  • The Supreme Court and the Environment: The Reluctant Protector (CQ Press/Sage, 2012) [Link]
  • Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook (with Haar) (Environmental Law Institute, 2010)  [Link]
  • Powell on Real Property: Michael Allan Wolf Desk Edition (Matthew Bender, 2009)
  • Strategies for Environmental Success in an Uncertain Judicial Climate (Environmental Law Institute, 2005) [Link]
  • The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler (University Press of Kansas, 2008) [Link]

Representative Book Chapters

  • “Becoming a Legal Troublemaker,” in Law Touched our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education 51 (Mildred W. Robinson & Richard J. Bonnie eds., Vanderbilt University Press, 2009) [Link]
  • “Hysteria v. History: Public Use in the Public Eye,” in Private Property, Community, and Eminent Domain (Robin Paul Malloy ed., Ashgate Publishing, 2008) [Link]
  • “Introduction: A New Realism About Environmental Law,” and “They Endured: Mining the Supreme Court’s Serviceable Past,” in Strategies for Environmental Success in an Uncertain Judicial Climate (Michael Allan Wolf ed., Environmental Law Institute, 2005) [Link]
  • “Leo Frank, Emma Goldman, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.,” in One Hundred Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History(Melvin Urofsky ed., CQ Press, 2004) [Link]

Representative Articles

  •  A Common Law of Zoning, 61 Ariz. L. Rev. 771 (2019) [SSRN]
  • Supreme Court Roadblocks to Responsive Coastal Management in the Wake of Lucas, 53 Real Prop., Probate & Trust L.J. 59 (2018) [SSRN]
  • Right Environmentalism: Repurposing Conservative Constitutionalism, 50 Ariz. St. L.J. 651 (2018) [SSRN]
  • Friends in High Places, Planning, July 2018, at 13
  • Lucas at 25, Planning, July 2017, at 10
  • “Climate, Takings, and the U.S. Supreme Court,” Planning, Oct. 2014 at 50
  • Conservation Easements and the “Term Creep” Problem, 2013 Utah L. Rev. 787, 33 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. 101 (2013) [SSRN]
  • The Brooding Omnipresence of Regulatory Takings: Urban Origins and Effects, 40 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1835 (2013). [SSRN]
  • Strategies for Making Sea-level Rise Adaptation Tools “Takings-Proof,” 28 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 157 (2013). [SSRN]
  • A Yellow Light for “Green Zoning”: Some Words of Caution About Incorporating Green Building Standards into Local Land Use Law, 43 Urb.Lawyer 949 (2011). [SSRN]
  • William Faulkner, Legal Commentator: Humanity and Endurance in Hollywood’s Yoknapatawpha, 77 Miss. L.J. 957 (2008). [SSRN]
  • Looking Backward: Richard Epstein Ponders the “Progressive” Peril (Book Review), 105 Mich. L. Rev. 1233 (2007). [SSRN]
  • Supreme Guidance: Supreme Guidance for Wet Growth: Lessons from the High Court on the Powers and Responsibilities of Local Governments, 9 Chap. L. Rev. 233 (2006) [SSRN]
  • Yes, Thankfully, Euclid Lives, 73 Fordham L. Rev. 771 (with Haar, 2004). [SSRN]
  • Euclid Lives: The Survival of Progressive Jurisprudence, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 2158 (with Haar, 2002).
  • Earning Deference: Reflections on the Merger of Environmental and Land-Use Law, 32 Envtl. L. Rep. 11190 (2002); also published in 20 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 253 (2002).
  • Pondering Palazzolo: Why Do We Continue to Ask the Wrong Questions, 32 Envtl. L. Rep. 10367 (2002)