I bought the game now, and have played it through. Here's my getting started tips:
At the start of the game, straight away send your 2 foremen out somewhere, leaving 2 workers who aren't in a work gang in your HQ. Grab these guys quickly, and march them over to the enemy plot. Before the computer has completed either of his 2 buildings, stand a worker on each plot. The computer cannot build while one of your workers is "squatting" on his worksite. The buildings will eventually blow up from not being built, by which point you can either send more workers to squat, or consider that a sufficient head start.
Meanwhile, buy the plot right next to you, put a lumber mill on it. Then put level 1 houses around your HQ (make sure you build one of each). I found I could fit 2 horizontal next to my HQ, 3 along the top, and 1 more down the side. You may need to delay building them all at once because you'll run out of level 1 tenants, but as long as you get the 3 different types of houses built then you'll be able to build the cement works and Gadget factory.
Housing Tip: Give them a reasonable garden, for level 1 tenants it doesn't need to be too big, but they like to have a couple of trees, and it helps make sure you've got good land usage for a reasonable cost. Once the level of house goes up then you'll need to scale up the gardens, as they'll start wanting garden features like sheds and garden furniture.
I would recommend building the cement works next to your lumber mill, perhaps the gadget factory as well, just make sure you can fit a level 1 house in there too. This should limit the amount of double glazing you need to provide to being just 1 house. You should by now be using 1 of your crews to switch between lumber, cement and gadgets, while the other one buids.
From here on out it's quite easy. take the time to beat your enemy down, while you set up a few level 2 houses, and just use these for rent. Pump out workers from your level 1 tenants (upgrade the bedrooms to keep them producing, but not their kitchens, so that they die sooner and you can put in fresh baby making machines.), then use the workers as soldiers to restrict the enemy. I think it's at level 3 that the council hits you with its first really hard mission where you have to build a park off in some remote corner, so make sure when you're getting a fair bit of rent in before this point. Then get a couple of well trained gangsters and you're unbeatable.
Best of luck with it (and best of fun).