Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold

Boehl Chair in Property & Land Use; Professor of Law; Affiliated Professor of Urban Planning; Director of the Resilience Justice Project


Tony Arnold is the Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use at the University of Louisville, teaching in both the Brandeis School of Law and the Department of Urban and Public Affairs. His research and teaching are at the intersection of land use, water, the environment, public policy, evolving governance institutions, and social and racial justice. He also directs the interdisciplinary Resilience Justice Project, which seeks to address the unequal vulnerabilities of marginalized and oppressed communities to shocks, such as climate change, disasters, and gentrification. Throughout an academic career of nearly three decades, Professor Arnold has had an extraordinary impact as an internationally renowned scholar, a beloved teacher and mentor, and dedicated community servant.

Professor Arnold’s transdisciplinary ideas and publications have shaped knowledge and understanding in many different fields, as well as being used by government agencies, legal institutions, nonprofit organizations, and grassroots community activists throughout the U.S. and world. His scholarly innovations have included:

  • environmental justice principles and tools of land-use planning and the effects of land use on environmental justice;
  • resilience justice;
  • the concept of property as a web of interests;
  • the integration of land use and water (“wet growth”);
  • adaptive law for resilience;
  • adaptive and inclusive watershed planning;
  • public-interest limits on water privatization;
  • equity in urban ecosystem services; and
  • the emergence of “fourth-generation” legal and governance institutions.

His publications have been widely cited, quoted, and discussed in disciplines as diverse as law, urban planning, public policy, political science, economics, sociology, geography, ecology, hydrology, natural resources management, and environmental health. For example, his publications on environmental justice and land use have been used by grassroots advocates in communities of color from California to Chicago, selected by Black graduate students at Harvard to create a new course in race and urban design, featured by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and American Planning Association, and recently cited by the Pakistan Supreme Court in a landmark climate-justice case. His concept of property as a web of interests has been used extensively by the United Nations, World Bank, and community-based land and water advocates in Africa and Latin America. His research on land use and water has been used by local governments in locations as diverse as Utah, Oregon, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Portugal.

Many other prominent legal scholars have had high praise for Professor Arnold’s scholarly impact:

  • “Tony’s work on the intersection of land use and water law has reshaped the field. Tony’s scholarship is held in the highest regard by everyone I know. It is not just influential, but it is also path-making and field-defining.”
  • “Tony Arnold’s brilliant scholarship and teaching has shaped a generation of environmental advocates. His work deftly weaves high theory with on-the-ground experience to offer concrete, practical advice for moving communities forward toward environmental justice. He has been a mentor to me and to so many legal scholars around the country and across the globe. Truly a giant in the field!”
  • “I can say without hesitation that Tony is among the top ten most influential scholars in property, land use, and environmental law. I don’t know that I could name many others who are as influential, prolific, and well-regarded in all three of these areas as is Louisville’s Professor Arnold.”
  • “Tony is widely regarded as one of the leading scholars today with respect to resilience and land use planning, an area of growing scholarly and practical importance in light of climate change.”
  • “Tony Arnold combines intellectual rigor with a deep commitment to environmental justice. He gets out of his office and into local communities to learn from them and to share his expertise, and then uses what he learns to write important scholarship that has real impact.”
  • “His work is forward-looking, exciting, and influential. He is dealing with—indeed, the first to identify—connections between complex legal and policy realms in ways that are not only theoretically creative, but also practical and accessible.”
  • “He has established a national reputation as a highly respected scholar across the breadth of environmental and land use law. He is smart, creative, and a stunningly prolific author. He is also unique. I cannot think of any other living scholar who has written prominent articles in five distinct fields, much less one who writes at both a theoretical and deeply practical level.”

Nonetheless, Professor Arnold’s most important and meaningful role is as a teacher and mentor to his students. In 2013, Professor Arnold won the Trustees Award, which is the highest honor given to a faculty member at the University of Louisville and is given “for extraordinary impact on students.” He has pioneered a “humanizing pedagogy,” based on the ideas of Paulo Freire in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and incorporated many innovative methods into his classes to maximize student learning and development of practical professional skills, especially complex problem-solving, negotiation, and planning skills. Professor Arnold teaches courses in Property I and II, Land Use Planning Law, Urban Justice and Policy, Environmental Law, Water Resources Law and Policy, and Adaptive Planning and Resilience, among others. He devotes countless hours to mentoring, supporting, and encouraging his students. Several of his classes involve outdoors experiential learning, and he regularly participates in outdoors extracurricular activities with his students, including hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and playing on a sand volleyball team called the Equitable SERVEitudes.

Professor Arnold’s students regularly praise the impact of his teaching and mentoring:

  • “Prof. Arnold is an amazing professor who clearly cares for his students. I count myself fortunate to have been in his class for my first year at law school.”
  • “Professor Arnold is an excellent educator and an even better human being.”
  • “He really cares about his students and their success in the course. He is always available to talk if a student is struggling.”
  • “Professor Arnold was excellent as always. Professor Arnold is smart, engaging, kind and has had real life experiences that allow this class to feel authentic.”
  • “He is a compassionate professor and mentor that always goes above and beyond his call of duty to see students succeed. I would take any class of his again.”
  • “Once again, Professor Arnold did an incredible job. He took a subject that I was not sure I was really interested in and made me really come to appreciate it. Professor Arnold was always prepared and did a good job presenting the materials. I also appreciated the advice he gave us when presenting, it was great advice not only for this particular class, but I know it will come in handy throughout my career.”
  • “Professor Arnold continues to be my favorite professor at the school. It is clear he is passionate about his work and student success.”
  • "Professor Arnold is a wonderful professor who is greatly concerned with the well being of his students and is willing to help them in any way. He is an expert in his field, and it is a great opportunity to learn from someone that is as passionate and world-renown as he is."
  • "He is perhaps the professor most adamant that students learn to think independently and critically. Specifically, Professor Arnold teaches students how to be innovators and spearheads of collaboration for the sake of achieving effective outcomes."
  • “Professor Arnold is a different type of law professor. His approach to scholarship, teaching and practice is not only cutting-edge, dynamic and multi-dimensional, but also practical.”
  • “Professor Arnold is an excellent teacher. I will never forget how much it meant to me as a 1L that he took time to get to know his students as people. It meant a lot to feel seen as a person.”
  • “He helped me to become a better lawyer, but more importantly a better human being.”
  • "Arnold is a treasure at the law school. Take him if you can."

Professor Arnold also has a distinguished record of service to the community and public throughout his career.  He has served on the boards of community-based groups, such as the West Jefferson County Community Task Force, an environmental justice organization in West Louisville, KY, and Federación Ecuménica de Fe y Acción, a microenterprise loan-fund for worker cooperatives in San Antonio, TX. Professor Arnold has served on nonprofit boards, such as The Nature Conservancy (Kentucky Chapter), and Habitat for Humanity (Louisville). He has also served on government boards, including as Chairman of the Planning Commission of the City of Anaheim, CA, and Co-Chair of the Land Use, Transportation, and Urban Forestry Committee of Louisville Metro’s Climate Action Task Force. He has worked with many groups and agencies on land-use planning and environmental-justice issues, including the Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission, the Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, and The City Project, an environmental justice advocacy organization in Los Angeles, CA.

Professor Arnold received his Doctor of Jurisprudence, with Distinction, in 1990 from Stanford University, where he was a Graduate Student Fellow of the Stanford Center for Conflict and Negotiation and founding co-editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review. He received his Bachelor of Arts, with Highest Distinction, in Political Science and History (with double Honors), in 1987 from the University of Kansas, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and selected nationally for a Harry S. Truman Scholarship and TIME Magazine College Achievement Award. After law school, Professor Arnold clerked for the Honorable James K. Logan, Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and practiced law in San Antonio, Texas, for several years. As a teacher, he draws on the breadth and depth of his practical professional experience representing diverse clients on a wide range of legal and policy problems.

Professor Arnold has been a Visiting Scholar at UCLA, the Hurst Visiting Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida, the Rudolph Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Wyoming, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Houston. He was a Teaching Fellow at Stanford University and held the Bollinger Chair at Chapman University.