In the rural setting a mud hut provides shelter in the larger environment; in the urban village a dwelling unit is more than shelter, it becomes the larger environment itself. The present construction of wood, mud and tin houses in suburban third world communities is socially depressing to the residents. Due to the limited amount of capital available and the high cost of building materials, landowners have built high density units with little regard for their effect on the community. Alternative housing construction seems almost inconceivable to them. In many communities the rapid influx of people has been met with a rapid expansion of such poor quality housing units. The resulting unsanitary, crowded conditions form a settlement pattern that reduces residents' initiative and motivation, since such housing not only poses a threat to the general physical health of the community but promotes a constant drain on peoples' spirits. In the case of traditional dwellings and settlements it is frequently their sacred character which is essential in that they form a humanized safe space in a profane and potentially dangerous environment. They become humanized by imposing an order using rituals, and sacred orientations and frequently, by becoming cosmological symbols. The loss of this aspect of housing and settlement patterns disrelates people from their own psychological and spiritual roots. Housing could and should be improved, not to measure up to any outside standards but to release the community's energy.