User satisfaction has been studied extensively in social housing, in Brazil however, the impact of such ratings on design factors has been minimal. Satisfaction rates must be used with reserve in relation to low-income family housing questions, since families who lived in risk areas, paid high rents for poor quality housing and have finally reached legal home ownership will rate any degree of housing improvement highly. In recent years, there has been a conceptual shift in such studies from satisfaction rates to the assessment of values relating to design attributes. This paper presents a discussion on the concept of desired value in social housing, with results of a study conducted in the region of the city of Campinas, Brazil. Maslow in 1943 proposed a hierarchy of human needs organized in a pyramid form. Benedikt (2008) describes how architecture addresses human needs and his pyramid is composed of six needs: survival, security, legitimacy, approval, confidence, and freedom. According to this model survival and security are shown to have significant power over all other needs. Buildings need to protect users from the elements, from trespassers, seizure of property and preserve privacy. User desired values were assessed in a study of four social housing projects, based on five storey walkup apartment blocks. The goal of the study was to identify aspects of social housing design which are most valued, to propose desired improvements. The research methodology consisted in using the concept of stated preferences, where approximately 200 respondents organized a list of design attributes in order of their desired preference. The design aspects were organized according to an adapted value structure of Spencer & Winch (2002). The investigation tool was based on the analogy of playing cards, which respondents organized according to importance given to specific housing design attributes. Five suits of cards were created representing socio-spatial, outdoor and indoor spatial qualities, financial value and symbolism. Data was statistically analyzed and a general importance index was created for each of the value attributes. Results showed that security was the only aspect with statistical significance. People also valued nature and indicated that a quiet environment is desired, where privacy is valued. Previous studies in similar social housing projects provide corroboration of some of these results where the question of security was considered satisfactory in relation to the home, but the neighborhood was regarded as unsafe, even in suburbs where crime rates were low. In the desired value investigation the results indicate that in a society with generally high crime rates, like those found in most urban areas of Brazil, the population has an important need for a sense of security, reflected in improvements introduced in housing project. High lot limit walls, toped with barbed wire are built and iron gates define territories and limit access. However security cannot be solved by such installations alone, it depends on wider social actions and constant user vigilance. The feeling of security must also be regained through community programs, after real threats are removed, with the support of more appropriate architectural and urban settings in social housing projects.