This Technical Brief is intended to be a starting point for improving coordinated needs assessments in urban areas, without which the humanitarian community will not be able to ensure the quality and accountability of urban response itself. It provides guidance on carrying out joint rapid assessments of humanitarian needs in urban environments within the first weeks of a disaster.

Organisations can use this Brief to ensure that joint assessments are carried out appropriately in urban areas, and to update their assessment practice. The Brief does not cover more comprehensive or in-depth sectoral assessments that may take place in the longer-term, although the issues discussed are the same and many of the principles are still applicable. It does not provide sector-specific guidance, and does not focus on the needs of specific groups (such as women or the elderly),but it does list references and resources that provide this detail.