Golden Age bonus in normal gameplay?

This applies to Ayyubids mostly, though Abbasid to a lesser extent. Ayyubids ask for 75 buildings for a final attack speed upgrade for most of their units, whereas the Abbasid one is 60 for a mostly economic bonus.

Let’s say I have a TC, maybe 5 resource gather buildings in range, a market, 7 military buildings, 2 monasteries, 2 blacksmiths, a university, the landmark, 20 houses, and even generously 10 outposts or defensive structures. That’s only 50 buildings.

I’ve been playing just spamming an extra 25 houses I don’t need to achieve the bonuses. Both civs tout “city planning” as a perk but it tends to feel to me like I just slap down a lot of pointless buildings in the late-game to actually benefit. Are people doing something else I’m not seeing? Maybe people build 30 military buildings or something?

Late game you want way more than 7 military buildings.

But yes, getting to Tier 3 on a vaguely sensible timeline has always involved spamming extra houses as Abbasid. If however you are at a late game eco with 120+ vils, its not that much of an investment.