This paper deals with the improvement of human well-being and the physical environment by looking at the implications of different dwelling types for territorial control, maintenance and use of open spaces and for housing estate appearance. Hence, the relationship between those who take part in the process of 'researching, planning, designing and actually making the environment' is examined by looking at the results of producing different housing environments where research almost does not exist and planning and designing are well far away from those who actually shape the environment, namely, the users. The results presented and analysed were produced from data collected in three housing estates in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, which comprise four different dwelling types. Data gathering means such as questionnaires, interviews and observation were used and non-parametric statistical tests were employed in data analysis, apart from the qualitative analysis. It was revealed that the different dwelling types have quite distinct impacts for territorial control, maintenance and use of open spaces and for housing estate appearance, and the importance of these aspects for resident satisfaction.