Rapid cultural change in contemporary life is affecting housing use and design in Syria, with these becoming more out of sync. This study is investigating the nature of cultural change and its impact on housing use to investigate to what extent it is affecting the appropriateness of housing design.The study is theoretically based on a social constructionist approach due to the complexity and multidimensionality of the study especially in understanding how people interpret their housing use and cultural identity. The academic literature review focuses on the overlap between culture and housing design and reviews the changing nature of these in Syria. Based on a case study approach, the research focuses on the cities in Syria most affected by modernization, westernization and globalization (coastal tourist Lattakia). The research investigates the contextual nature of cultural issues in relation to built environment, drawing on qualitative research methods at both a macro and micro level - e.g. different techniques were used- considering the holistic yet individual implications of the subject. Empirical investigations were conducted with appropriate samples of representative households in two formal ‘generically designed’ housing areas - i.e. those not designed for a specific client and not self-designed/built, but designed by either government or private sector architects for a general population. The first housing area was developed by the state with subsidised housing (Youth Housing) which represents a lower middle class group. The second area was the university area (Tishreen university area) which represents a middle class group with houses designed speculatively by the private sector. In these two areas, 39 households were interviewed using face-to-face questionnaires, photographic documentation, documented licensed housing design plans, and direct observation. Semi-structured interviews with actors involved in generic housing design (academic architects, professional architects and developers) were also conducted. Two key housing use/design issues were chosen to be investigated as key cultural aspects of housing and also highly changeable in the Syrian context: concepts and practices of privacy in the home (family privacy, intra-family privacy, and woman privacy) and trends in food preparation and consumption. Although still in the analysis stage, the study is providing as yet unavailable detailed social and cultural information on actual house use and residents’ aspirations on a number of implications arising from these factors. The output of this research is to recommend design approaches more attuned to current cultural change through a deeper understanding of inhabitants’ current social needs - through e.g. guidelines for bigger kitchens with dining space, which reflects the change in food preparation and consumption, increasing the number of bedrooms to provide more intra-family privacy, and providing study/work space in the dwellings