They really are factories to me too - never thought about this. You do have the hapiness aspect etc. but still - micro-managing down to "reduce the quoue for childen to go to kindergarden" or "increase the quality in the rest homes" would be extreme overkill. But that is what common people are into
Not sure how to make the common people of cities/colonies/planets shine through... go play Sims instead maybe??
EDIT: On a more serious note I recon you could throw in some events of "local politics" - problems with the local politicians, making decissions about local community issues. Things you wouldnt have to touch, but things that would significantly improve micro-managed sectors in cities/colonies etc. if you took the time. That way micro-managing freaks ("freak" in its positive term ) could be somewhat more ocupied. Still, I'm not sure that is the point of these types of games - atleast I want the action and sensation of power without all the petty everyday average-joe issues