Head shot of Matthew Festa
  • Kinder Fellow
  • Professor of Law
  • South Texas College of Law Houston

Matthew Festa is a member of the faculty of South Texas College of Law Houston. He teaches and researches in the areas of property law and land use, state and local government, energy law and other areas.

His scholarship focuses on contemporary land use planning and control, government regulation, property rights and the legal history of property law and local government. As a Kinder Institute Scholar, Festa’s research studies the effects of land use law on cities and communities. His research and writing highlights the unique status of Houston as the nation’s only significant “unzoned city,” while at the same time having an underappreciated system of land use controls that he calls “de facto zoning” or “zoning lite.” 

Festa earned his law degree and master’s degree in history at Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in public administration at Murray State University and his undergraduate degree in history and english at the University of Notre Dame. He has also practiced in litigation, land use, environmental and energy law at Locke Lord LLP. Prior to that, he served as a judicial clerk on the federal district and appellate courts and served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Festa continues to serve as a judge advocate (JAG) in the U.S. Army Reserve.