And it is increasingly looking like 3D printing could have a role to play. Italian firm Wasp is the latest to explore the potential of additive manufacturing in this area, developing a super-sized 3D printer capable of producing low-cost housing made from mud.
Mud brick homes aren't new, and have a certain appeal for the environmentally conscious due to their low carbon footprint and sustainable nature. Wasp is looking to bring these benefits to a bigger stage by providing a means to quickly create shelter in developing regions where traditional forms of construction might not be possible.
The company's mud-extruding dream builder stands around 20 ft tall (6 m) and is capable of printing structures 10 ft (3 m) in height. This puts it at around the same size as the printer used by a Chinese company earlier this year to construct 10 houses in less than 24 hours.