Following an earlier discussion (Simple script that will copy position from Schematic to Layout (for an easier start...)), and based on an original idea from @jenschr, I’ve written an action plugin available at https://github.com/ian-ross/kicad-plugins that helps with the initial organisation of parts when first creating a PCB layout from a schematic.
Running the plugin lays out component footprints in Pcbnew in the same spatial pattern as their corresponding components in the schematic. Hierarchical sheets are laid out one after another down the page in non-overlapping areas.
Note that the footprint organisation produced by this script is intended only to aid with keeping track of where everything is at the very start of component placement. For example, if you have a large number of decoupling capacitors for a component, you can place them near to the component in the schematic and the plugin will move them to be near to the component in the layout too. Another example where this might be useful is for analog sections where it might be useful to mirror signal flow and component placement on the schematic in an initial view of the PCB layout.
The plugin currently works only with V5 schematic files. I will update it to work with V6 files when the Python schematic API becomes available.