SHAPE tool

Developed by: National Health Service

The Strategic Health Asset Planning and Evaluation (SHAPE) tool is a mapping tool aimed at those whose role is to provide health services. SHAPE allows users to create maps according to a selection of indicators sub-divided by topic. Topics include public health, Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and geography. Although SHAPE is not primarily a tool for adapting to climate change, there is also information on hazards, such as the risk of flooding, to enable strategic planning for emergency response.

A recent case study of Kent County Council explaining their use of the tool recognises its role for climate adaptation “There is a clear link between the environment, climate change, health, wellbeing and health inequalities. SHAPE will support us in planning a more holistic approach to our business continuity and emergency preparedness for extreme events, resilience and climate change adaptation work”. SHAPE can therefore help to foster socially just adaptation to climate change. There are a number of ways the SHAPE tool can be used to develop socially just responses, including through:

  • Enabling a local understanding of health inequalities and therefore identifying places where there may be groups of particularly socially vulnerable people who have the potential to feel the effects of extreme events more acutely than others. In addition to basic demographic information, the tool allows the exploration of a range of local population characteristics such as deprivation and patterns of health care access. These indicators can be compared against flood zone extents and one of the next developments is to include data from the 2011 Census.
  • Using the highly visual user interface and presentation of maps as a means of consultation and a basis for discussion. Alternative ways of presenting information may give voice and power to people and allow them to participate more fully in the process of developing effective responses. 
  • Supporting the process of considering intergenerational justice; for example, the longer-term effects of siting health services in a particular area through functions which allow trends over time to be considered.

The tool is free to NHS and Local Authority professionals with a role in Public Health or Social Care.