The 4see tool is a top-down scenario model which is developed by Dr. Simon Roberts within ARUP Foresights: a research branch of ARUP which tries to encourage clients to think about the long term. At present it is currently at the development stage and as such, it is not available to external users.

4see uses an economy-wide systemic approach that draws insights from historical socio-economic energy trends to test future scenarios. Data sets used cover economic activity, investment, capital, employment, energy, trade, balance of payments and transportation. The model uses “conservation” of a number of different quantities: thermal energy, electrical energy, goods, services, employees, investment, and balance of payments. Therefore, 4see considers all sectors of the energy system (electricity, heat, and transport) as well as all costs. The 4see tool is designed to assess national energy systems and it uses a monthly time-step over a 20 year horizon.

Since 4see is only at the development stage, it has not been widely used to date. However, a number of online videos are available which outline how the model works [1-3], how it was applied to the UK energy system [4], and the creation of a poster for the UK with the tool [2].

Below is a video which discusses the principals behind the 4see tool:



  1. Roberts S. ARUP Foresights. The story of energy, stuff and the economy. Available from:http://vimeo.com/5505984 [accessed 10th May 2011].
  2. Roberts S. ARUP Foresights. 4see model and introduction to poster. Available from:http://vimeo.com/20507438 [accessed 10th May 2011].
  3. Roberts S. ARUP Foresights. 4see, a framework to explore the future using past data. Available from:http://vimeo.com/14113602 [accessed 10th May 2011].
  4. Roberts S. The Open University. Stuff stuff and long car trips: application of the 4see socio-economic-energy model to the UK and designing future scenarios. Available from:http://design.open.ac.uk/the_department/SimonRobertsSeminar.htm [accessed 10th May 2011].