Home / Advanced (Thinking) / We are born to prefer “wet savanna”.

We are born to prefer “wet savanna”.

by | Mar 25, 2021

As we walked on two legs we developed a preference for a “Wet Savanna” environment… is this still an influence to the landscapes we want to create on our parks, gardens and even the lit street environment as we seek to “de clutter” the Urban environment and look for “co-location” street lighting…posts / columns that accommodate area lighting, façade & architectural and even CCTV ?

It sounds like a leap to make this connection all in one paragraph, but the proposal goes as follows “ Hominid evolution took place on the savannas of East Africa…our biological heritage still contains a preselection of environments”, places where early hominids found food, shelter and could see distances around for safety and perhaps hunting.


The original influential study

“Development of visual preference for the natural environments”

by Balling & Falkin you can find here.


As adults we adapt to the environments we are used to and thus the study found age & cultural preferences in line with our learnt experiences, but as children there was a clear and strong preference to the wet savannas, preferences of depth of view, openness, uniform grasslands and shading from scattered trees. If this conscious or sub consciousness plays out in the way we design parks, golf courses and open spaces, then it is not far removed to understand the pleasant reactions to “dappled” (leaf like effects from gobos) with our street lighting. (just a shame the engineers prefer uniformity!).

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