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IN MOST AMERICAN CITIES during the first half of the twentieth century, the distance between worksite and resi­dence tended to increase. This was due to improvements in transportation corridors, advances in real income, and availability of the automobile to the middle income class which correlated with the purchase of new homes in the suburbs. Traditionally, the journey to work took the labor force to areas in or near the central business district of the city. In the recent past, however, the movement away from these centers by industry, retail establishments, offices, and other users of downtown space has led to the establishment of other work center nuclei. With their birth has come a change in the direction of daily commuting and a restructuring of residential living patterns.

In Omaha this movement of plants, offices, and retail establishments into the suburbs has been aided by transportation routes such as the interstate system. These corridors have improved access to large,r, cheaper land packages in the developing perimeter of the city. In addition, primarily east-west arteries provide reasonable access to these new employment centers as well as to the city core. Many· of these streets have been modified over the years to increase their carrying capacities which have provided a wider range of access in the search for housing.

The purpose of this article is to examine the current conditions within one portion of the housing market-the apartment sector. Before these conditions can be viewed in their proper perspective, establishment of the background of locational development is necessary. The authors feel strongly that general statements concerning market conditions must be understood within this framework. While there is always an average rent or average vacancy rate to be estimated, the diversity within the market is so extreme as to make these numbers virtually meaningless. Part 1 of this article will examine the evolving locational characteristics of apartments. Part 2, which will appear in a future issue of the Review, will focus on changing monetary policies that affect apartment construction, rents, vacancies, condominium conversions, and the prospects for the future.