A quick strategy tip based on limiting aspect of the game. I am not sure I like this limitation, but here is how you circumvent it.
First, citizens doesn't do anything, this means that population is only relevant as soldiers or to increase city level, but nothing beyond that.
Second, you can only build one of each type of building except hut. This is probably a consequence of issue one, because without requirements to citizens you could otherwise build unlimited number of each building.
Finally, because you can only build one of each of the base building, the bonus building (+25% to something) are useless unless you have resource titles. (adding +25% to 1 gilder is useless, and since stationing heros there doesn't add to the bonus higher level building are only interesting in resource cities.).
One strategy I've made to compensate for this game is: City spamming. If you can only get 1 gold, 1 material, 1 arcane research and 1 tech research per city, then you are going to need a lot of cities to compensate for any resources you might not start with.
I will call these spammed cities suburbs. A suburb exists only to build the basic building in, it doesn't need any resources. You should never build a hut in a suburb. A hut would cost extra food, and you would gain anything extra from a higher city level, all the basic buildings are available at size 1.
So build primary cities near resources, and spam pioneers early to build suburbs around the primary city at a distance of around 10 squares. This is especially important in the beginning until you have researched how to find more resources. The suburbs should be placed in a circle at 10 squares from the city and with 5-6 squares between each.
Roads are made by caravans, but it is made instantly. So to build a road-network for your metropolitan area you start by making a caravan and send it to the main city. Then you select the caravan and disband it. Then you send it to a neighbor suburb, then disband it again. Then you send it to a city far away. Note that this is currently extra profitable because there is a bug so you keep the bonus from the first caravan even after it has been disbanded.