It’s hard to escape the hubbub around ICONSIAM, Bangkok’s newest mall. For those who aren’t too familiar with Bangkok and may be laughing at the fact that a shopping mall is worthy of hubbub, well…you need to live in Bangkok a bit longer. Shopping malls are a big business here, to chagrin of many who think Bangkok has way too many malls as it is; to those people, opening a new one is just a needless waste of money and space.

Well, in my opinion, those people are not wrong…but their argument lacks nuance. I think ICONSIAM is a great addition to the area that it’s in (with some caveats that I’ll discuss below). I also think that the “mall question” is much more complicated than simply saying “too many malls”, so let’s look at some of the issues at play: