I am Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow jointly at the department of Urban and Regional Studies of the Polytechnic of Turin, and at the African Centre for Cities of the University of Cape Town. As part of my fellowship, I am currently working on a project called SURGE – Sinofinancialization and Urban Change along the new Silk Road in East Africa (grant 886772). My goal is to explore the impact of private Chinese capital on two East-African cities (Addis Ababa and Nairobi) that have emerged as key destinations for the urbanisation of Chinese investments in the continent. At ACC, I also collaborate with the financing African infrastructure working group and I am part of the reference team for the VREF-funded project on the nexus of platform urbanism and paratransit mobilities. In this last project, my interest is in understanding how platform algorithms multiply beyond the techno-capitalist domain in which companies such as Uber and the likes operate. 

I hold a PhD in Economic Geography and Urban Studies from the Institute of Culture & Society, Western Sydney University (2014-2019). My doctoral research, which included an 8-month visiting period at the EGS department of the University of Cape Town, addressed the entanglements of digital technology, economic development and urban change in Cape Town, and has appeared in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Planning A, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and in Urban Studies. Prior to my current fellowship, I worked as project manager in a large research consultancy that involved several local councils in metropolitan Sydney, supporting the development of cultural policy for the survival of creative spaces in the city. Recently, I was also involved in the design of a serious game (Antarctic Futures) within an intercontinental project on the 5 Antarctic gateway cities (Cape Town, Christchurch, Hobart, Punta Arenas and Ushuaia), a research which explored and experimented with how these Southern Ocean Rim cities could act collectively as global custodians of Antarctica.


Book chapters 

Besplemennova, Y. & Pollio, A. (2021). Snowfall on Piazza Castello. Stubborn dispositions and multiple publics in a (temporarily smart) Milanese square. In Odendaal, N. & Aurigi, A. (eds.). Designing Smart for Better Cities, 71-86. Cambridge: Academic Press Elsevier. 

Barns, S. & Pollio, A. (2018). Parramatta Smart City and the quest to build Australia’s Next Great City. In Karvonen, A., Cugurullo, F. Caprotti, F. (eds) Inside Smart Cities:Place, Politics and Urban Innovation, 215-228. London: Routledge.  

McNeill, D. & Pollio, A. (2018). Tracking the Global Urbanists. In Harrison J. & Hoyler, M. (eds). Doing Global Urban Research, 81-95. London: Sage.

Journal Articles

Pollio, A. (2021) Uber, airports, and labour at the infrastructural interfaces of platform urbanism. Geoforum, 118, 47-55. DOI 

Khan, M., Magee, L., Pollio, A., & Salazar, J. F. (2021). Counter-fun, scholarly legitimacy, and environmental engagement – or why academics should code games. First Monday, 26(2).

Pollio, A., Magee, L., Ang, I., Rowe, D., Stevenson, D., Swist, T. and Wong, A. (2021 – forthcoming). Surviving Supergentrification in Inner City Sydney. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Pollio, A., Magee, L., & Salazar, J. (2021). The making of Antarctic Futures: Participatory game design at the interface between science and policy. Futures, 125. DOI:  

Pollio, A. (2020). Making the silicon cape of Africa: Tales, theories and the narration of startup urbanism. Urban Studies, 57(13), 2715-2732.

Pollio, A. (2020) Incubators at the frontiers of capital: An ethnographic encounter with Startup Weekend in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(4), 1244-1259. 

Pollio, A. (2020). Architectures of millennial development: Entrepreneurship and spatial justice at the bottom of the pyramid in Cape Town. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(3), 573-592. 

Pollio, A. (2019). Forefronts of the sharing economy. Uber in Cape Town. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(4), 760-775. 

Pollio, A. (2016). Technologies of austerity urbanism: the “smart city” agenda in Italy (2011–2013). Urban Geography, 37(4), 514-534. 

Other media

Pollio, A. (2020). The Cloud, geographical advantage, and the metaphors of the Earth. Issues, Vol. 3

Iacovone, C., Gris, A. V., Safina, A., Pollio, A., & Governa, F. (2020). Breaking the distance: Dialogues of care in a time of limited geographies. Dialogues in Human Geography, 10(2), 124-127.

Pollio, A. (2016). Debunking Neoliberal Economics: What if Growth Could Only Happen Outside the Market? Stiglitz and Greenwald on Development and Innovation. Journal of International Development, 28(1), 150-151. 

Pollio, A. (2013) If the Revolution is not Tweeted but Choreographed, review of Gerbaudo, P. (2012) “Tweets and the Streets”. City, 17(4), pp. 541-543.