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Backcasting starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect the future to the present.[1] The fundamental question of backcasting asks: "if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?"[2][3]Forecasting is the process of predicting the future based on current trend analysis. Backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction.[4]

In statistics and data analysis, backcasting can be considered the opposite of forecasting. Whereas forecasting is predicting the future (unknown) values of the dependent variables based on known values of the independent variable, backcasting can be considered the prediction of the unknown values of the independent variables that might have existed to explain the known values of the dependent variable.[5]

Practical applications[edit]

Backcasting is increasingly used in urban planning and resource management of water and energy. It was used by Dr. Peter Gleick and colleagues at the Pacific Institute in a 1995 study on California water policy, as an alternative to traditional California water planning approaches.[6] In 2006, the Capital Regional District Water Services, which services the greater Victoria area in British Columbia, Canada, committed to backcasting to the year 2050 as a formal element of all future strategic water planning initiatives.[7]

Backcasting is a key component of the soft energy path, a concept developed by Amory Lovins after the shock of the 1973 energy crisis in the United States.[8]

Backcasting from Sustainability Principles, or System conditions of sustainability is a key concept of the 'Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development' pioneered by Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of The Natural Step, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to applied research for sustainability, in cooperation with a global academic Alliance for Strategic Sustainable Development which links universities which cooperate with businesses, and other NGOs.It has been refined and tested by peer-review and application within businesses (widely-known examples are: Interface, Nike, Whistler).

Backcasting is used in climate reconstruction or cosmology to determine the conditions (i.e., values of unknown independent variables) that existed in the distant past based on known (more accurately estimated) values of past dependent variables.[9]

Research groups that use backcasting[edit]

Other resources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Page 12. The Soft Path for Water in a Nutshell (2005). Oliver M Brandes and David B. Brooks. A joint publication of Friends of the Earth Canada and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. University of Victoria, Victoria BC.
  2. ^ Tinker, J. 1996. From 'Introduction' ix-xv. Life in 2030: Exploring a Sustainable Future for Canada, edited by J.B. Robinson et al. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
  3. ^ Page 5. Environmental Change and Challenge : A Canadian Perspective by Philip Dearden, Bruce Mitchell. ISBN 0-19-541014-9 / 9780195410143 / 0-19-541014-9. Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Holmberg, J. & Robèrt, K.H. 2000. Backcasting from non-overlapping sustainability principles: a framework for strategic planning. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 74, 291–308.
  5. ^ Stan Development Team (2014-07-20). Stan Modeling Language: User's Guide and Reference Manual. pg. 39: Stan. 
  6. ^ Gleick, P.H., P. Loh, S.V. Gomez, J. Morrison. 1995. California Water 2020: A Sustainable Vision. Pacific Institute, Oakland, California (May 1995)
  7. ^ http://www.crd.bc.ca/minutes/wateradvisorycommitt_/2006_/dec12/dec12.pdf
  8. ^ "Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?" published in Foreign Affairs, in October 1976
  9. ^ Stan Development Team (2014-07-20). Stan Modeling Language: User's Guide and Reference Manual. pg. 39: Stan. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backcasting — Please support Wikipedia.
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4 news items

 
7thSpace Interactive (press release)
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:37:30 -0700

Both the backcasting method and the minimal coverage method could adequately adjust for the design change and allow for the continuation of the time series. Conclusions: The inclusion of the mobile telephone numbers, through an overlapping dual-frame ...

Knack.be

Knack.be
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:22:30 -0700

Dat blijkt toch uit de 'backcasting'-studie die de onderzoeksinstellingen VITO, Icedd en het Federaal Planbureau eind 2012 presenteerden. Uiteraard kleeft daar een prijskaartje aan vast, weet medeauteur Wouter Nijs. Nijs vormde anderhalve maand geleden ...

부산일보

부산일보
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:21:19 -0700

시민이 바라는 미래 부산의 도시상을 설정하고, 미래에서 현재로 향하는 시간 흐름별 탐색(backcasting)으로 현 시점에서 시행해야 할 정책을 개발하고 추진하는 정책수립 절차가 필요하다. 그런데 미래 부산을 위한 새로운 정책체계의 필요성은 인식하지만, 현안 ...

이투뉴스

이투뉴스
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:33:45 -0700

윤 사무처장은 유럽처럼 재생에너지와 온실가스 등의 목표를 우선 설정하고 이를 달성하기 위해 세부적인 에너지정책을 수립하는 백캐스팅(backcasting)방식의 보급계획을 도입할 필요가 있다고 말했다. 이에 대해 박일준 산업통상자원부 에너지자원정책관은 “산업 ...
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