Human Design: What environment do you thrive in?

Have you ever felt a little bit “off” in certain environments or settings but couldn’t quite pinpoint why? I certainly have. And after finding out what my ideal environment in Human Design is, it all of a sudden made a lot of sense!

It’s funny you know, we humans are all so similar yet so different. We all need a nourishing environment but what that looks and feels like can be so vastly different from one another. Human Design once again comes through with this beautiful language and set of ideas for us to play and experiment with.

Human Design: What environment do you thrive in?


“We each have a unique way of looking at the world. We each have a unique view. But you cannot take advantage of the unique perspective if you’re not in the right place looking at the right things.” 

Ra Uru Hu

What is my human design environment?

When we say “I’m in a good place right now” what does that really mean? Well, Human Design may just give you the lens or the words to help articulate why you are feeling that emotional stability and fulfilment and how to nurture and expand that feeling even more.

Your Human Design environment is all about how we nourish ourselves from the outside in. When we are in our ideal environment, we see more clearly, feel more at ease and our bodies feel open and expansive. When we are not in the right environment, it can feel uncomfortable and restrictive. There is a real sense of resistance or tension in the air – and you may never have been able to put your finger on why that is until now.

Our ideal environment is not necessarily the specific place but the concept behind it. For example, my environment is a cave – I do not live in a cave yet the concept of a place that is safe, cosy and quiet makes my Body and Soul just want to sing! To me, my environment feels a bit like a craving or deep desire that I never knew I had until I was in the “right place”.

It’s also said that our ideal environment becomes more important to us after our Saturn Returns (26-29 years) and this is something I too have personally noticed. Each time we have moved or taken a holiday in the last few years, I feel more able to articulate my needs and desires and have taken a more active role in making these happen. However, knowing this information about my children has allowed me to understand them and their needs on a deeper level and to help them create meaningful spaces in their lives.

Lastly as with all Human Design information – experiment with it and find the meaning that works for you.

The six human design environments

There are six human design environments in total – three hardscapes (caves, markets and kitchens) and three landscapes (mountains, valleys and shores).

Hardscape people are looking to their immediate surroundings and what is available to them from that space to have their needs met. It’s important that they follow their inner guidance of when to be inside – just because they are indoor environments doesn’t mean they need to be in that space 100% of the time to feel that inner sense of contentment.

Landscape people are looking beyond their environment – it’s more about the energy of their surroundings and how they interact with them. Again, it’s important they follow their inner guidance – just because they are outdoor environments doesn’t mean they need to be in those spaces 100% of the time. Instead, it’s about being inspired and bringing these poetic concepts into their main spaces.


A cave represents comfort and a sense of security.

  • A preference for coziness and comfort or cool and dim
  • Like to control who comes in and out
  • Don’t like to be surprised
  • Sitting with a wall behind you or tucked in a corner can ease your nerves
  • A place to recharge and access creativity


A market represents choice and selectivity.

  • A space where you can explore, create, rest and be stimulated
  • Lots of things to pick and choose from (free to choose what feels good in the moment)
  • A bland space will not feel good
  • Lots of different elements to play with and experience
  • Like to indulge in all the details (can be picky)
  • Important they can choose their home, bedroom location, etc


A kitchen represents coming together and a desire to be where transformation takes place.

  • Lots of different ingredients to play with
  • All about alchemy – mixing ideas, cultures, tastes, smells, textures, etc
  • Like to be in the middle of the action, the trendy/hip places
  • Enjoy central gathering places for all types of people
  • Community is vital to your wellbeing as it provides inspiration
  • Creativity thrives when you can mix and match
  • Not necessarily kitchens but places of alchemy (art studio, science lab, digital worlds, etc)


A mountain represents having a broad perspective, being in high space so you can see the bigger picture.

  • Being up high provides a vantage point of expansion
  • Feel misplaced if not high up, being too low or boxed in can feel uninspiring
  • Enjoy being up high (car, buildings, flying, etc) so you have a full view
  • Open spaces settle you and allow you to engage with your body
  • Solo time in nature can be soothing and revitalising especially when it involves a view


A valley represents being close to the ground where you can gather and exchange information.

  • Enjoy spaces where you can gather and share ideas, stories, news, food, wares, etc
  • All about the exchange of energy
  • Communication, intimacy and connection is important to you
  • Like to be close to the ground (eg preference for roadtrips over flying)
  • Highly influenced by acoustics and sound
  • Tend to love gossip or unwinding with reality TV as it allows you to feel apart of other peoples stories
  • You like to be in the know – dislike secrets or withdrawal of information


A shore represents the meeting of two worlds and the ability to lean into new realities.

  • Enjoy being in a space between two worlds/settings
  • Interest in other cultures / cultural experiences
  • Desire to explore other worlds of fiction, fantasy and video games
  • Enjoy gathering new ways of being and unique experiences
  • Love to stargaze, watch the sunset / sunrise
  • May find it soothing to pace or rock

To be observed or be the observer?

Each environment also has two sub-types – observed (left arrow) and observer (right arrow). Here are some high-level differences between the two.

Observed (Left)

  • Focused on doing things
  • Your space tends to invigorate you
  • Active and attentive when in the right space
  • Suited to stable environments with some structure and consistency
  • If you’re not engaged, feeling lethargic, etc you may not be in a supportive environment
  • Get to know your natural energy levels so you can be aware of what is supportive and what is not

Observer (Right)

  • Here to take in things around you
  • Important to have something to observe
  • Relaxed and calm when in the right space
  • You’re in a supportive environment when you’re not active at all (say what now!)
  • Check in with your beliefs on the above because we’re often taught to hustle/be busy
  • Suited to changing, malleable environments that invite inspiration and creativity
  • Follow the cues of your body

It’s important to note that sometimes we will experience internal conflicts where parts of our chart say completely different things but both are valid. For example, I love structure and consistency (strong Gate 5 energy) but I am also an observer who loves flexibility and variety in my environment. I can also be quite rigid (Caves) and very inward (loads of Line 2 energy) which can also conflict with that Observer energy. So it’s a matter of balancing these parts within me and really following the cues of my body to feel at ease.

“The environment is also saying something about a foundation of who you are. So if you’re left, you’re here to be active in this life. This is what’s good for you. The joke that some people are couch potatoes. Some people are designed to be couch potatoes. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them. They’re designed to be couch potatoes. It’s terrific.”

Ra Uru Hu

Finding your correct environment for you to thrive in?

You can generate your Human Design chart here to uncover your ideal environment within seconds. No need to interpret numbers or arrows, the information will come up straight away.

If you already have your chart but you’re environment hasn’t been highlighted, it will usually be represented by the number in the yellow circle, under the bottom arrow on the left. Please note the chart downloaded from my website is a little different – see image below.

This is a chart available on my website. In this example, the ideal environment is Mountains (Passive).

Here are the number and arrow references:

  1. Caves – Left/Selective, Right/Blending
  2. Markets – Left/Internal, Right/External
  3. Kitchens – Left/Wet, Right/Dry
  4. Mountains – Left/Active, Right/Passive
  5. Valleys – Left/Narrow, Right/Wide
  6. Shores – Left/Natural, Right/Artificial

How I interpret my environment

According to Human Design, my ideal environment is a Cave and for me, this is spot on. It was one of those light bulb moments, particularly when I then looked at my husband’s ideal environment (Mountains). Suddenly our home, home layout and holiday accommodation choices all made sense. It was like the walls of expectations, judgement and hesitancy melted and a new level of understanding and desire to make life comfortable for each of us was created.

As I look back on my childhood, I can also see how each of my family members’ ideal environment played out and how it is possible (not always easy) to create space for everyone’s needs in one home. And why this information is so important to know about each other because as mentioned above, the judgements and expectations we have of others can be huge! This information really helps ease and remove them.

Here are some things that I’ve personally noticed in relation to being a “Cave” design:

  • School: As a kid, I hated sitting in the front row of the classroom. As I got older I usually tried to sit at the back or to the side furthest from the door.
  • Work: Working in the corporate world, I loved the jobs where I had my own office and my desk usually faced the entry point so I could see who was approaching. There was a feeling of being on edge in the jobs that didn’t. In open plan spaces (without cubicles) – oh my goodness, productivity was low – I would either work from home, stay late or get in early knowing minimal staff would be around. I didn’t stay long in jobs like this.
  • Work: I had an absolute meltdown in a job where I shared a reception area and the other party changed the desk arrangement without discussing it with me, I could not see the door and I had glass windows at my back – my sensitivity and anxiety were through the roof. I am definitely more rigid and needy than most with my work environment – it needs to feel just right to be productive.
  • Holidays: My husband loves the idea of staying on the top floor of hotels – my preference is to be closer to the ground. Or tucked into places – it makes me feel safe and cosy. Being out in the open feels a little exposing. I love a beautiful view but I’m definitely not going to hang out in that space for as long as my husband. I want to be cosy and snug in my little homely space.
  • Outings: I’ve noticed that I do spend a lot of time close to the wall and I will know the exits. The feeling of being surrounded by people is very unsettling. I really don’t like people at my back.
  • Home: I don’t invite a lot of people to my home – in fact, it is quite rare that people will get an invite, I’m more likely to come to you. Don’t take it personally it just feels better for me that way. And if you’re going to visit, then be sure to let me know – the idea of unexpected visitors leaves me feeling a little on edge.
  • Home: There’s a real safe feeling that comes when my home is tucked in – tucked into a unit block or the side of a hill. My last two homes have definitely felt safe like no other one has.
  • Home: I can definitely be very sloth-like! I love lazing but there has definitely been some conditioning around being busy and active that I have needed to work through to really allow myself to indulge in rest and relaxation (probably why I look healthier and more vibrant after a good holiday without kids because I can fully allow myself to go into that space without the mum guilt and values clash!).
  • Pastimes: One of my favourite childhood memories was building cubby houses with this epic 70s pull-a-part couch my parents owned.
  • Car: I really resonated with this one. I do find driving in my car very soothing when on long drives alone. Sometimes it is where I do my best thinking.

Experiment with your environment

It can take some time and creativity to find ways to make your environment work for you (and your loved ones). Sometimes it can be as simple as turning a bed or a desk around. Human Design is a great self-awareness tool that we can use to really understand ourselves – and in this case, why we are attracted to certain environments and why we may feel tense or restricted in others.

The key to living in alignment with your human design is to first become aware, observe how it’s currently working, and then experiment and make changes to feel more at ease and in the flow. Each time we remove resistance and tension, life just feels a whole lot easier to navigate!

Remember to have fun and find the meanings that work for you!

Resource Links

Amy Doyle

Holistic Counsellor

Amy helps her clients move from this idea that they are broken or missing pieces of their own puzzle, to owning their story, claiming back all parts of themselves and merging together as one team to allow them to rest and be in their deepest expression.

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I discovered What Human Design environment i thrive in, So what do i do Now?

It may be difficult to find the perfect human design environment for you. Especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for or where to look. We have a range of other articles Here that you can read to learn more about human Design or scroll down to get your free human design chart.

Head over to our main page if you would love to learn more about what Amy does and how to get in contact with her.

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