Improvement in overall appearance and in sanitation facilities in towns and villages has been fostered by the government. Low cost housing has been provided by a public corporation backed by French development funds.
Over the past decade, many residents have been looking to build more modern "western" style homes. However, most of the construction materials for such a structure need to be imported, making materials (and labor) too expensive for many residents to consider this an option. In the rural areas, the typical dwelling of northern Benin is a round hut of beaten mud with a conical roof of thatch. In southern Benin, rectangular huts with sloping roofs of palm or straw thatch are more usual. Along the coastal lagoons, houses are often built on stilts.