No part of Niue can be described as urban, but nearly one-fifth of the population lives in the vicinity of the capital, Alofi.
Villages are laid out around a central, flat open space – the male (village green) – which is used for meetings, sports events and ceremonies. Most houses face the most socially important and visually dominant structures near the male – the church and the pastor’s house.
Most buildings have been constructed within the past 20 years, using materials, styles and furnishings imported mainly from New Zealand. Construction methods are designed to minimize the effects of devastating tropical cyclones that occur once every seven to 10 years.