The social housing estates built in the decades following WW2 were meant to stimulate specific ways of being social. This is still reflected in their spatial organisation and in the designed playgrounds, parks, assembly rooms and other open and accessible spaces. We examine how publicness has been understood and performed in these housing estates over time. The aim is to begin a heritage discussion concerning how post-war social housing estates can facilitate publicness in rich and meaningful ways now and in the future. What processes of disrepair, endurance, growth and appropriation have taken place in the spaces designed for social activities? How have people valued traces of the past and negotiated different modes of publicness and privacy at these sites over time? What is the agency of physical materials and spatial figures in this process?