"Backcasting is a method of analysing alternative futures, often energy futures. Its major distinguishing characteristic is a concern with how desirable futures can be attained. It involves working backward from a desired future end point or set of goals to the present to determine the physical feasibility of that particular future and the policy measures that would be required to reach that end point. End points are usually chosen for a time 25 to 50 years in the future." (from Paehlke, see References)
Backcasting is similar to Visioning, however backcasts are not intended to reveal what the future will be, but rather to weigh up a number of possible futures, and decide the implications and preferable options, then to map out steps along the way (see the case study linked at the bottom of the Community Fair page).
This page originally copied with permission from the Citizens Science Toolbox