In Ways of History game, dividing cities on classes (scientific, military, money-making, productive) is not formal but is effectively absolutely necessary to score anything:
- there is a limited number of buildings in one city, you can't build all in one
- cities get different bonuses from their site terrains for each activity type
- most non-military buildings suppress population growth that is necessary for making military units
- cities can associate with at most one special resource, that will boost one kind of production in times but harm much city growth
- percentage bonuses from great people and donates apply to a specific kind of production in a specific city
- local wonders are not necessary nation unique but have map radius where they are unique.
In Freeciv, we could make great people (as they are in Civilization games, some units joining to a city increase some specioalist count and not population count) and radius-dependent buildings (I've described the way in some post). Also, we could set governors that will have bonuses so big that they will suppress the difference with manual tile picking (I've also mentioned this anti-micromanagement approach somewhere), and those governors can be set and changed for money so you won't do it often.