Urbanisation at an increased scale has had a marked effect on housing in Brazil over the last thirty years. Urban centres have grown at a disproportional rate against rural population (Schütz, 1987) with resultant urban problems of poverty, low quality housing, housing shortage as well as increasing crime. During this period several tendencies in residential production can be identified with respective results in housing design and user satisfaction. This paper shows some examples from the state of São Paulo of these housing types of the last ten years, their representation of user interest and the resultant housing quality. The work will concentrate on the self-building process, presently the largest housing production in urban areas in Brazil, and discuss its problems and design interference needs. A house design tool for the self-building environment is presented.