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TitleEnvisioning sustainability: Recent progress in the use of participatory backcasting approaches for sustainability research
AuthorRobinson, J; Burch, S; Talwar, S; O'Shea, M; Walsh, M
SourceTechnological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 78, 2011 p. 756-768,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100404
PublisherElsevier BV
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsenvironmental geology; Nature and Environment; climate; climate effects; land use; climate change
Illustrationsphotographs; tables
ProgramPeople Support
AbstractThis paper describes recent progress in the utilization of participatory scenario-based backcasting approaches to sustainability research that blend quantitative and qualitative analysis in order to explore alternative climate change futures, as undertaken in a range of academic, government,and private sector projects in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. These projects reveal that buy-in to policy proposals may be enhanced by participation, but there is a risk of participants being overwhelmed by the complexity of the choices they are being asked to make. Furthermore, tools are grounded in a process, which must itself be the explicit focus of attention in designing successful backcasting projects and combining participatory backcasting techniques with more interactive processes can enhance our ability to explore highly complex and uncertain, value-laden issues. These approaches can be used to drive action and support decision-making, but for a truly consultative and consensus-oriented process to occur, it is important that a broad sample of the community be engaged in the discussion who are equipped with technical knowledge or understanding of the goals of the process in order to participate in an equitable and effective fashion.