In the nineteenth century large compact villages were common, especially among the Nyamwezi. As the country became peaceful, people moved out to build in their own fields. The dispersal of settlement continued until the first years of independence, and villages passed through phases of expansion and decline as soils became worn out and the age structure of their populations changed. In the mid-1970s new compact villages, ideally of 250 households, were established by decree throughout this and other parts of Tanzania. Each household had a 0.4-hectare plot within the village on which to build and cultivate, and families also had access to fields in surrounding land. The 0.4-hectare plots were commonly arranged in blocks of ten between new village streets. This policy has since been relaxed, and some settlements are said to be disbanding.