Reflections on Quista, J, Vergragt, P (2006) Past and future of backcasting: The shift to stakeholder participation and a proposal for a methodological framework.

Some excerpts from the article (link)

“The origin of backcasting is in the 1970s, when Lovins [6,7]  proposed backcasting as an alternative planning technique for electricity supply and demand.”

“The focus of energy backcasting was on analysis and deriving policy goals, while the backcasts  of different alternative energy futures were also meant to reveal the relative implications of different policy goals.”

“Backcasting for sustainability.”

“The shift to participatory backcasting using broad stakeholder involvement started in the Netherlands in the early 1990s. Participatory backcasting has been applied in the Netherlands since then, first at the governmental programme for sustainable technology development (STD) that ran from 1993–2001 [3,27]  and in its EU funded spin-off, the research project ‘SusHouse’ that ran from 1998 to 2000 [4,5] .”








“ It has also been found that backcasting can refer to a concept or philosophy, a study, an approach, a methodology, an interaction process among participating stakeholders, an analysis (sometimes referred to as a backcast ) or the specific step of looking back from the desired future within the overall approach. This means that backcasting is used to refer to the conceptual or holistic level, the level of social or multi-actor processes, the level of overall approaches and methodologies containing of multiple steps, methods and instruments and to the level of specific steps, methods or instruments within such an overall approach or overall methodology. However, it also shows that backcasting is slightly differently defined in different places and reports, which might be confusing in the present debate and when comparing different backcasting studies.”

KC’s reflections:

As my SIP is a small scale inquiry, I have stayed away from the overarching approach to back casting’s methodologies and focused on how I can use the method by looking at STD’s approach. In my SIP, I have focused on Short Term actions. i.e. tutorial forms, giving advance notices and developing self-reliant mindsets.

I have chosen this article from Delft University of Technology as I see my area (Technical Studies) of teaching bearing a close resemblance to what I see in Delft, which is described on their MOOCs. (link) Although it is an engineering school, I should also emphasise that I would look at this article more from a process overview instead of a technical perspective.

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