They are bland, they cost too much and they don't do anything.
Keep Houston Houston has come out very forcefully against those signs that cities hang up when they're trying to make a neighborhood happen. You know the ones - they look something like this:
As Keep Houston Houston writes:
The effect is really poopifying. Pretty much the distinguishing factor between an authentic urban place and a shopping center is whether or not one entity has total control over the feel and the branding. I can recreate the exact building massing and aesthetics of pretty much any urban place with a camera and a CAD program. But if I’m a single property owner, the end result isn’t an actual place, it’s a “Lifestyle Center.” When you do a Lifestyle Center as infill instead of greenfield, it becomes a “Festival Marketplace.” But it’s still the same shopping-and-entertainment-complex, operating under a unified brand.
Now, you wanna do a Lifestyle Center or a Festival Marketplace, well, good for you. No one is going to mistake Market Center The Woodlands as an authentic small Texas town, and everyone in Murder City knows the Inner Harbor is a place for tourists. But what makes placemaking banners a uniquely insidious evil is that they crap on real, authentic places.
The entire post is quite entertaining. Check it out here.