A planter, circle-shaped, obviously city-owned, about a meter wide, and rarely and barely planted in. In San Francisco, such things are often planted in by kind, gardeny neighbors, but this one wasn't, or barely.
Perhaps not big enough to be worth the trouble. Perhaps, as it was on the way to and close to a MUNI station, someone had maintained it and had some bad experience with the passing many people hurting the plants.
It was either a big round bit of dirt or a big round bit of dirt with a couple of sad looking plants in the middle.
The city did the right thing, and took the planter out.
Now where it was is a circular pattern of bricks, carefully done, more pleasant to look at than the neglected planter.
Bricks stick out around the diameter of the circle and then the middle is filled in with bricks going back and forth. It is kind of interesting looking, and there is now no apparent reason for these circle bricks in the middle of the angular bricks that lead to the MUNI station. It's pleasantness and purposelessness make it almost art, something in the art family. Thanks be given for the care taken by the people who took out the planter.
It almost feels like it doesn't matter.
However, if they planter had just been ripped out and exposed dirt left to wear into an ugly hole, that would matter. So the stylish alternative matters too, in the public interest. In the public interest, make public spaces interesting and faintly encouraging.
(If one were walking down 17th Street to Market, this is fairly soon before the MUNI station and close to the entrance to the elevator.)