Residents' perception of the design factors affecting their sense of legibility and the subsequent degree and type of use and appropriation of communal outdoor spaces was investigated. The specific relationships, which might suggest the way spatial behaviour can be supported or inhibited by the level of clarity of physical and social space definition, are explored. There is an analysis of the relationships between the orientation pattern of buildings, spaces and the circulation system provided by design, and the effects of these relationships on user perception of space hierarchy, territorial definition and spatial behaviour. The results allowed the identification of the more important elements affecting and conveying user perception of physical and social definition of spaces.