Water have become more useful with the trade system and the trade system is keep in some form so while water tile themself are not the greatest, cities located near water have potential to be very strong. With the focus on specialization thundra could definitely have a role, it could be good for tourism/faith/culture/whatever but desert could also get roles such as being good for markets, jungles are good for science, this encourage empries to expand as they want the best tiles for each district so if thundra is good for tourism you would want your tourism city to be a thundra city like you want your science city near mountains and jungels. Civilization V did not encourage you to expand much and one of the bigger reason for that was that there was no specialization and some tiles are just pure better then others. Given all penalties for expanding in Civilization V there was no real drive to found more then lets say 4 cities because there was little to no gain in founding complete inferior cities. The best cities was best at everything and that is what Civilization VI try to go away from.