Healthy Place Shaping

Our Healthy Place Shaping approach


"There is growing evidence that there are significant benefits for local people by taking an approach to planning housing, infrastructure, and the economy, with health and wellbeing as the centre of focus. This approach is known as 'Healthy Place Shaping.'"

Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health.

Healthy Place Shaping puts every resident of Oxfordshire's health and well-being at the centre of what we do. This approach recognises that every community is unique and has its own strengths and assets - we've all seen first-hand the power of community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Healthy Place Shaping is a collaborative approach to creating sustainable, well designed communities, where healthy behaviours are the norm and which provide a sense of belonging and community.


Why is this approach important?

Place is a very important part of our lives. It's where we live, learn, work, socialise and stay active. But sadly, some places across our county are more active - and equal - than others. We know that the gap in male life expectancy between Oxford North and Northfield Brook has increased from 4 years (2003-7) to 15 years (2011-15). People living in the most deprived communities are seeing a drop in life expectancy as the inequality gap continues to widen - and this must be addressed.

Place-based working is a person-centred, bottom-up approach used to meet the unique needs of people in each place. By working together with partners and with communities, we can make the most of the existing strengths, knowledge and capacity that already exists in our local areas.


Healthy Place Shaping is one of Active Oxfordshire's Three Pillars, and as such represents a key priority for our organisation. The Healthy Place Shaping approach is based on three main interventions:

  • Built Environment: shaping our local environment so that homes are healthier, people can easily access green spaces and are able to walk, cycle and socially interact
  • Community activation: we want to work with and through local people, businesses, community groups and schools to empower communities to create their own lasting change. We will support healthy choices, being active and feeling safe and connected.
  • New models of care: re-shaping and developing health, wellbeing and care services. Supporting local people to know how best to look after their health and wellbeing.

What are we doing locally?

In Oxfordshire, we are helping people to live well by:

1 Promoting active environments to support everyday activity

2 Activating communities in the Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) ranked within the 20% most deprived nationally as identified in the JSNA as well as the key growth points across Oxfordshire

3 Embedding the promotion of physical activity into new models of health care as part of systems change.

You can find out more about how we are delivering our Healthy Place Shaping interventions by visiting our Place Based Approach section.

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