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Backcasting and Forecasting
Backcasting is a particular form of scenario building, where the scenarios are chosen to reflect desirable “visions“ of development and policy packages are constructed to be consistent with these images of the future.
There are fundamental differences between forecasting and backcasting since the latter improves the ability to identify trend-breaches, to generate more creative policy options and to include a larger number of policy considerations.

Focus on quantified variables

More emphasis on details

Results determined by the current situation

From past to present and slightly to future

Deterministic analysis

Closed future

Statistical econometric tests

From simple to complex

From quantitative to qualitative

Re-active problem solving

Implicit assumptions and prejudices

Limited set of options

Model–oriented mind based on presumed certainty
Focus on qualitative picture

More emphasis on trend breaches

Results determined by future images

From future to present

Creative thinking

Open future

Plausible thinking

From complex to simple

From qualitative to quantitative

Pro-active problem solving

Explicit assumptions without prejudices

Open range of options

Ecological mind capable to deal with uncertainty
Adapted from Rienstra, 1998