Oh for f*** sake, like StevenAus and LNQ I'm perplexed by this. The tile placement system was going to be replaced with improvements being build 'internally', and have one extra district, or maybe one per level. There were some people arguing against it, but imo their arguments never went much further than 'It's original' and 'I like snaking'. I remember Brad posting that in light of the opposition against the change (which wasn't that overwhelming iirc) he would have another look at it, but that's it.
Honestly, sticking with the tile placement building is an awful idea. Like LNQ said, it's a compromise, those hardly ever work out. Unless you somehow restrict where buildings can be placed and how that affects borders and interaction with other objects, you'll still have snaking. With Derek saying he never wants you to run out of stuff to build and assuming there won't be 37 upgrades for each building, you'll still have city sprawl.