The Bad Architect Website poses the question and has an answer on both sides. Yes:
Retailers and users are demanding public spaces, civic streets and squares in new developments. The internal agenda has become truly external, moving the focus away from controlled environments towards outside spaces and places.and No:
New developments are creating a sense of place which is a natural extension to the city, not just a retail scheme, and through it, restoring and creating civic pride.
We have created destinations to get people back into city centres that were previously underused, with a rich mixture of retail and leisure that caters for the widest range of people, as well as offices, hotels and residential.
Shopping centres certainly provide jobs and activity, but they do so at the expense of virtually everything else, rather in the way that a forest planted only with conifers will sterilise the ground around it.
They suck the life out of the shopping areas nearby, creating a much larger regeneration challenge in their wake. Drive past the enormous Westfield shopping
centre in West London in a few months’ time, and doubtless the process of decline will have begun.