Embedded Rocks in SF’s Mission Spark ‘Hostile Architecture’ Debate

It started with the boulders on Clinton Park, and now some in San Francisco are targeting other areas with what some see as "hostile architecture" meant to keep the homeless away.

In the Mission district, another debate surfaced over rocks cemented into the sidewalk on Valencia Street. The rocks are much smaller than the boulders on Clinton Park, but they're also much more permanent.

Resident and activist Michael Petrelis sees the rocks as "hostile architecture."

"When it prevents someone from gathering or sitting or lying on the sidewalk, then that is anti-homeless architecture," Petrelis said.

Two women who run a community center in the area say there's no need to fight to get the rocks removed because they were installed a quarter-century ago, and they're due to be removed anyway.

"These have been here for 25 years because they were put in as decorations," said Maria Cristina Gutierrez, executive director of Companeros del Barrio.

The rocks are expected to come out in February.

"It’s a plan we had for a long time," said Malba Maldonado, executive director of La Raza Community Resource Center.

Some neighbors see nothing wrong with the rocks.

"It looks like its decorative to me," Joe Tobie said. "Ridiculous. Has nothing to do with homelessness."

The boulders on Clinton Park are gone, but it's unclear if neighbors will try something more permanent. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents the Mission, told NBC Bay Area city leaders need to better respond to the drug addiction and find permanent solutions.

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