This article contains the results of my dissertation “Interventions in the Hills of Recife Metropolitan Region (RMR, Norteasth, Brazil): between necessity and quality”. The purpose of the article is to assess the quality of interventions in hill-side slums in the RMR and the extent to which the beneficiary population is satisfied with this work. The relevance of the paper lies in its contribution to our understanding of the problems arising from the settlement of hillsides and in stimulating reflection on the part of technicians and government decision-makers involved in implementing public works. The article also proposes alternatives to the current pattern of intervention relating to qualitative and aesthetic aspects that are of interest to the beneficiary population. A survey was carried out involving 62 public works in 13 localities and 91 local inhabitants were interviewed. In addition, the results of questionnaires and interviews collected as part of FIDEM’s “Long Live the Hillside!” programme were analysed. The public works studied address the needs of the local inhabitants according to a technical logic which pays little regard either to their immediate environmental conditions or their socio-cultural traditions. Such works concentrate on topological factors and are limited to high-risk areas, thereby tending to disregard qualitative and aesthetic aspects and failing to take into consideration the general satisfaction of the local people. In many cases, serious functional problems arise, resulting in various kinds of accident. Poor maintenance, often carried out by the residents themselves, provides further evidence of weaknesses in terms of conservation and sustainability. The participation of local residents is normally restricted to identifying and reporting dangerous conditions, or working as labourers to reduce the cost of the project. Their opinions and prior experience tend not to be incorporated in the technical solution that is eventually implemented. The results show that the level of dissatisfaction with the end-product varies from 40 to 47%, but, at the same time, indicates that there are some positive popular and governmental initiatives that are worth replicating. Two articles of this dissertation were accepted by ANPUR- National Association for Postgraduate Research in Urban and Regional Planning, in Belém, Brazil, May 2007 and in the V International Seminar of Social Housing, in Chile, October 2007.