Our idea hinged on the use of shipping containers as modular housing components. It works like this: The developer ensures that the CC&R docs include provisions to allow lot buyers to assemble permanent structures on-site that meet building codes, but that may not otherwise meet the full architectural standards for the community all at once. The buyer would contract with a turnkey housing unit "designer/manufacturer/installer" and pick the right initial set-up to meet their needs (say, a 2-container efficiency with a kitchenette and small bath, or an "outbuilding" with a 1-container efficiency). The prerequisite, of course, would be an Ikea-like housing store where the lot-buyer could take the site topo and development plan and build, pod-at-a-time, their dream home. Additionally, a design system that ensured complete interchangeability could allow a buyer to "re-purpose" pods already on the ground as they add-on and "re-model" their initial footprint.
I know that the key barrier to implementation of this idea pertains to the scale economies of pre-fabrication of the pod units to fit the site needs, but if it is well-designed and sufficiently modularized (and if key distribution partnerships are worked out in advance - rail, freight, on-site-placement), much of the final "interconnection and assembly" could be completely DIY - just like getting an Ikea bed delivered in 6 boxes. In many ways, this is something of a revival of the old Sears-Roebuck or Aladdin model of kit or catalog houses, like the one my Grandfather, George Gullette, put up in Raleigh, NC.
Imagine, then, a 300-lot development on a spectacular site with only the basic streets and community amenities in place. And then, over time, each lot starts sprouting a little bit of housing, one room at a time.