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The urban is commonly characterised as a new frontier of humanitarian action. The debate has moved on from the rationale for adjustment of aid provision in such contexts to how the aid community, broadly defined, ought to concretely adapt their ways of working. In so doing aid actors need to consider the particularities of urban settings, including the tendency of such settings of displaying greater inter-dependency in relation to markets, livelihoods, governance, security and the provision of services. Such increased inter-dependency carries far-reaching implications for both the vulnerability and resilience of such areas. A complex of issues is relevant to humanitarian outcomes in urban settings, including but not limited to the social cohesion of vulnerable urban areas, the particular protection needs that arise, the legal and policy frameworks that can either over- or under-regulate such areas, as well as security and public health considerations. In interrogating the complexity of urban humanitarian action the rationale for new tools and approaches to guide the delivery of humanitarian aid in such settings becomes clear.