In the cities of ancient Sumer, whether they were rich or poor, every family had its own house. The rich had large wide houses, the poor had narrow houses. All of the houses were built at least three stories high. The first floor was an entryway and courtyard. Children played here, small livestock was kept here, and if the weather made it possible, meals might be cooked here. The next two floors were where the family lived. Their sleeping and sitting rooms were on these two levels as well as food storage. The roof of the house was flat. The people treated the roof as another floor. During good weather, people would cook and eat on the roof of the house. This got everyone up away from the streets, yet still out into the open air.
Houses were built out of cut sandstone blocks or mud bricks. In the poorer sections, they would share walls to cut down on construction costs. In the richer sections, the houses stood alone. All of the houses were clustered around the Ziggurat to make it easy to get to the temple and to leave offerings to the gods.