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Why So Gray, Seattle?

Our public spaces aren't exactly up to par with the natural landscape around these parts, according to Crosscut's Lawrence Cheek. Apparently we have an overwhelming preference for gray concrete and bland design, a fact he demonstrates pretty convincingly with a slideshow of blah public parks and facilities. Major offenders: North Seattle Community College, Counterbalance Park, and the UW/Safeco Tower. [Crosscut]