John Haffner


Leela Viswanathan


I am a current PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. My dissertation research focuses on the social processes behind infrastructure development with particular attention paid to municipal-indigenous relationships in transportation and land use planning in southern Ontario. I completed my Master’s degree in community development from the University of California at Davis, researching regional internet infrastructure planning and development in the Sacramento area. My previous research experience also includes work with activist groups in South Africa promoting alternatives to privatized telecommunications infrastructures.

Research with PWIP

My research with PWIP focuses on unpacking the particular social processes behind transportation infrastructure planning in Southern Ontario. In particular, it looks at the relationships between Walpole Island First Nation, the city of Windsor and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation during the planning and development of the Herb Gray Parkway. This research also explores the ongoing planning and development of the extension of Highway 401 to a new international border crossing connecting the cities of Windsor and Detroit. In doing so, my research explores the political economy of large scale transportation infrastructure projects and presents questions regarding the relationships between Indigenous communities and multi-jurisdictional government agencies and the broader complexities around borders, sovereignty, territory, trade and land use planning.

Other Research Interests

  • Transportation and Communication Infrastructure Planning
  • Political Economy and International Trade
  • Community Development

Master's Thesis

Digital Divisions: California’s Broadband Consortia and the Inequities of 21st Century Telecommunications


Haffner, J. (2018). Critical Infrastructures, Critical Geographies: Towards a Spatial Theory of the Digital Divide. Chapter 8 In G.   Muschert & M. Ragnedda (Eds.), Theorizing Digital Divides. Routledge. See 

Haffner, J. (2015). Alternatives to Privatised Telecommunications: Right2Know’s Campaign for a More Democratic Information System in South Africa. Right2Know Campaign. 

Haffner, J..(2015). Expanding the Right to Communicate: An Activist’s Guide to Internet Access. Right2Know Campaign. 

Haffner, J. H. (2013). Public, Private, and Non-profit Interventions in California’s Digital Divide: A Case for Thoughtful Action. International Journal of Technology, Knowledge & Society, 9(4).