Writing for This Big City, Tao Rugkhapan argues that the merits of these public places don't outweigh their overall imitation of urban life.
"While the malls are treated with such delicate design intentions, their sugar-coated shortcomings are glaring in other aspects. A mall, in essence, mimics a market by appropriating the old functions and packaging them into an experiential, air-conditioned utopia. In a traditional market or the downtown street where humble shophouses densely line the street, you stroll along the tiny alleys, lose yourself in the twists and turns, and come into contact with other people, public amenities and institutions, for everything in the public realm is woven into the same urban fabric. The faux urban marketplaces try to achieve the same effect but they do so by privatizing public space and putting all these elements in a fenced bubble independent of everything outside of it."