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Rethinking Streets as Parks
Seattle's open-space strategy shifts its emphasis away from traditional parks to an evolving "urban ecosystem" that focuses on city streets.
By Clair Enlow

In the spring of 1903, John Charles Olmsted and his assistant Percy Jones came to Seattle and surveyed the city by horse, trolley, foot, and boat. They saw a raw natural beauty to be carefully carved and panoramas to be framed against the press of future construction. Olmsted's parks would be a refuge and a legacy in the booming city, a permanent bulwark of civilization against the onslaught of prosperity.

That very fall, the city council approved his plan, a system of parks and parkways that would wrap the new city with green. Much of the land surveyed was acquired and landscaped within the first decade of that visit. The rest of the Olmsted ring of green, which skirts Lake Washington and partially circles the city, is still being realized in some parts of Seattle. Neighborhood planners eagerly invoke the name to support their vision.

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