Andrea Pollio

Fixed-term tenure-track assistant professor
Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST)


Research interests

Algorithmic governance
Algortithmic culture
Digital justice / just ai
Digital platforms
Infrastructure studies
Urban africa
Urban economy


Andrea Pollio is Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow jointly at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and at the department of Urban and Regional Studies (DIST) at the Polytechnic of Turin. His research interests are situated at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies (STS), urban studies and development economics. His published works mostly address the interface between technology, development and urbanization in Africa. Andrea's current book project charts the landing of private Chinese technology capital in Nairobi's Silicon Savannah.

Scientific branch

(Area 0011 - Historical, philosophical, pedagogical and psychological sciences)


ERC sectors

SH7_7 - Cities; urban, regional and rural studies
SH3_13 - Digital social research
SH7_1 - Human, economic and social geography
SH2_6 - Humanitarian assistance and development
SH2_1 - Political systems, governance
SH3_9 - Poverty and poverty alleviation
SH3_8 - Social policies, welfare, work and employment
SH3_1 - Social structure, social mobility, social innovation
SH3_14 - Social studies of science and technology


Goal 1: No poverty
Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Editorial boards

  • Platforms & Society (2024-), Editor of magazine, editorial series, encyclopaedia


  • African Infrastructure Futures Conference (21/11/2022-23/2/2023), Program committee

Other research or teaching roles outside Politecnico

  • Ricercatore, presso University of Cape Town (4/1/2021-31/12/2022)

Research networks

  • Flow/Overflow/Shortage editorial collective (2022-). Coordinamento


Collegi of the degree programmes


Master of Science

Bachelor of Science

MostraNascondi A.A. passati


Supervised PhD students

  • Emanuele Sciuva. Programme in Urban And Regional Development (38th cycle, 2022-in progress)

Other activities and projects related to research

Since 2015, Andrea has been researching digital capitalism in urban Africa. His work has addressed the African economies of global platforms like Uber and Amazon, as well as the making of technological innovation into a matter of local statecraft in cities like Cape Town, Nairobi and Kigali. One of Andrea's research interests traces the influence of Silicon Valley ideologies over the practices of humanitarian development. His work has appeared both in Urban Studies and Geography journals (IJURR, Urban Studies, The Annals of the American Association of Geographers), as well as in leading cultural theory journals such as Economy & Society and the Journal of Cultural Economy.

Current projects:

‘Platform Politics and Silicon Savannahs’ – VREF (2021-2023)

Funded by the Volvo Research and Education Foundation, this project involves documenting the intersections between digital platforms and the motorcycle-taxi sector in Kigali, Nairobi and Cape Town. Andrea co-leads this project with Liza R. Cirolia and Rike Sitas, investigating how digital platforms and new financial technologies are shaping informal mobility infrastructures in urban Africa.

‘Nairobi, techno-capital: Global China and the Silicon Savannah’ – MSCA (2020-2023)

Funded under a Marie Curie fellowship (grant 886772), this three-year book project is an ethnography of Chinese technocapitalism and its encounter with Nairobi’s existing digital innovation landscape. With the aim to demystify simplistic anxieties about China’s digital presence in Africa, the manuscript will offer a grounded reflection on the multiple ways in which cities become the foil and the testbed of technopolitical and geopolitical shifts.

'The financialised city? Milano: geografie finanziarie, geopolitica urbana e questione abitativa' – DIST (2023-2025)

Funded by the DIST department at Polito and spearheaded by Francesca Governa, this two-year project addresses the role of international finance in Milan's recent urban transformation.


Publications by type

PoliTO co-authors

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