Towns and cities in the world’s developing countries are growing on an unprecedented scale. In 1960, the global urban population was 34% of the total; by 2014 54% of the total and growing. By 2050, the proportion living in urban areas is expected to reach 66% (UNDESA). Sub-Saharan Africa’s annual urban growth rate is 3.6%, almost double the world average. The information in this document was compiled as background reading material for the 50th Brussels Development Briefing on Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities.