The paper is focused on the causes of the emergence of typical collective housing patterns and the process of adjustment to altering requirements evoked by changes of a global nature. The main causes of the emergence of collective housing models in Upper Silesia are: the demand for workers for developing heavy industry in the 19th century, migrations in search for work (the Inter War Period, and the times of the Polish Peoples’ Republic), relocations and resettlements from eastern parts of Poland in the aftermath of World War Two and the demarcation of new borders. There are four basic periods of the emergence of typical houses and multi-family estates. The earliest one, from the turn of the 19th/20th century to the early 20s was a response to the need of providing flats for workers employed in coal mines and steel mills. Another period covered the Post War years up to the first political turn after the collapse of Stalinism (50s), when flats were erected to make up for the losses suffered during the War and meet the demands caused by Post-War migrations. The third period involved accelerated economic growth of the 1960s and 70s and relocating workers from other parts of Poland to Upper Silesia. In that period a big increase in the number of flats was at the expense of their poor functionality and small size. The last period commenced after the political and economic transformations in the 90s, when a group of newly well-to-do started to look for higher social status in gated communities. Each of the above mentioned periods has created characteristic types of housing settlements. The earliest model are the so called “multi-family brick houses”, of very poor civilization standards and compact settlements devoid of any service infrastructure. Also model workers’ estates under the patronage of industrial establishments with complete urban infrastructure but very poor installation facilities and tiny flats usually consisting of two rooms. In the next stage, the erected housing estates had the Social Realism aesthetics, good urban planning solutions, appropriate installation facilities and decent flat size. The third period brought about estates of “negative” urban planning solutions, Corbusier’s aesthetics derived from the Marseilles Unit, with blind kitchenettes and low functional standard resulting from cramped spatial conditions, yet with good technical facilities. The last model involved gated housing estates built by developers, characterized by high technical and spatial standards, but without basic urban infrastructure. The described housing patterns and models have been perceived in diverse manners. The living conditions have been subject of alterations caused by political and economic changes (decline of the coal mining and steel industry, unemployment reaching 30% among miners, migrations for work), as well as changes in the life cycles of the inhabiting generations, metropolis formation processes occurring in the Silesian conurbation. The administrative bodies and communities inhabiting the settlements react differently to variable demographic phenomena and respond in a various way to the requirements that the ageing of society imposed on buildings. The analysis of the above mentioned cases leads to the conclusions useful in modernization of the buildings as such, as well as of their dissimilar urban surroundings. The results make it possible to draw conclusions for the formation of the social politics concerning restoration, energy policy improvement. The analyses may also contribute to the creation of the laws regulating the processes of flat provision in a new demographic reality (ageing of the society, changes in family structure) in the market dominated by developers who, so far, have not been interested in utilizing the conclusions from research into current social needs.