The study looks at the provision of adequate design attributes to allow for home-based income-generating activities in social housing, focusing on the spatial and social-economic impacts of home-based work on the function and design, at domestic and urban scale. It aims at identifying the spatial features related to the different types of income-generating activities taking place in selected low-income housing schemes with different urban location, street grid and dwelling type and clarifying these aspects through the study of configuration, location and availability of the types of incomegenerating activities informally introduced in social housing. It was designed in order to investigate the most frequently adopted means of income generation used by low-income residents, which include physical modifications in the dwelling and common areas carried out to adapt these spaces to informal jobs, and to identify the spatial features affecting resident decision-making on location and types of income-generating activities introduced in the housing scheme. Moreover, it evaluates the recent initiatives taken by public sector to meet residents’ needs. Methodological procedures consisted of post-occupancy evaluation and configuration analysis of five low-income housing schemes located in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Data was collected through questionnaires, interviews, observations and physical measurements. Space syntax measures were used to analyze the spatial configuration of home-based work. Findings indicate the most frequently adopted means of income generation used by residents, which include physical modifications in the dwelling and common areas in order to adapt these spaces to informal jobs. The type and quantity of modifications taking place are related to the degree of spatial flexibility, according to each dwelling type, which affected residents’ satisfaction with appearance of the housing scheme. Dwelling location within the urban area and neighbourhood added to its linkages to public infrastructure impact the characteristics of home-based work and the usage of the dwelling for income generation. The number of shops or services generated in each category varied according to demand and the scale of the urban areas they intend to serve, on the flexibility of dwelling type and on the characteristics of the urban context. A comparative account of income-generating activities distribution allowed for a classification of the various types and sets out in what ways they came into being. The location patterns are compared with configurative analysis of the street grids in the areas in which the housing schemes are located. The relationships investigated highlight the important role provision and adequacy of income generating activities play on performance evaluation and economic sustainability of low-income housing schemes. Evidence provided indicate that part of household income generation in social housing in Porto Alegre originate from informal entrepreneurial activities carried out in the dwelling, resulting in a number of physical modifications in the dwelling as well as the creative usage of space and occupation of common areas. It is highlighted the importance of location of income generation activities in and/or near the dwelling, as a mean to provide job and income alternatives and to guarantee better living conditions to low-income residents. This contribution is meant to help to base guidelines for good practices in the design of social housing and broaden policy makers’ knowledge to plan for housing to meet the diverse income generation needs of low-income households.