Over the past three decades, black holes have played an important role in quantum gravity, mathematical physics, numerical relativity and gravitational wave phenomenology. However, conceptual settings and mathematical models used to discuss them have varied considerably from one area to another. Over the last five years a new, quasi-local framework was introduced to analyze diverse facets of black holes in a unified manner. In this framework, evolving black holes are modelled by dynamical horizons and black holes in equilibrium by isolated horizons. We review basic properties of these horizons and summarize applications to mathematical physics, numerical relativity, and quantum gravity. This paradigm has led to significant generalizations of several results in black hole physics. Specifically, it has introduced a more physical setting for black hole thermodynamics and for black hole entropy calculations in quantum gravity, suggested a phenomenological model for hairy black holes, provided novel techniques to extract physics from numerical simulations, and led to new laws governing the dynamics of black holes in exact general relativity.
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