Background

In the last decade, Asia has been the site for meteoric economic growth, due to the fast pace of urbanization and the level of development for major cities. One of the growing countries in Asia is Indonesia, with its diverse cultural and multi-ethnic backgrounds. The pluralistic society in Indonesia is not detached from the complex reality of social discrepancies, which infiltrate all aspects of public and private lives of its people (education, health, socio-cultural, and socio-economics, among others.)

According to the World Bank (www.worldbank.org, 2016) Indonesia is undergoing a transformation from the rural economy to urban economy and has the third largest share of mainland urban areas in East Asia. The figures given by the World Bank painted an insight: the rate with which the city develops has exceeded the load that can be borne by developments in the field of socioeconomics at the national level. This poses a question: to what extent does living in the urban environment influences human activity, movement, and inevitably, behavior?

The discipline of psychology, which is a part of health and behavioral sciences, can certainly contribute ideas, initiatives, and other forms of work toward a more comprehensive city planning so that the city becomes a living space that is safe and comfortable for urban residents. The dynamic rhythm of urban life calls for the support of city management that would be conducive toward building a healthy lifestyle, positive interpersonal relationships, as well as collective awareness of environmental conservation. Nevertheless, ideas and actions that inform urban issues should be multidisciplinary.

As a university Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia aspiration is to grow with this nation. It focuses on, and excels in promoting the diversity of Indonesian society, with special concern directed toward marginalized groups. For this reason and to achieve its objective  the Faculty of Psychology at Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia organizes an international conference on Psychology and Multiculturalism with special emphasis on the historic metropolitan city of Jakarta. The birth of modern cities in Indonesia occurred as a result of colonial government's policies in the context of consolidating economic, political and military power. The study of the trends and the natural criteria of urbanization, since the pre-and post-colonial period up to the present era of globalization, should require our attention. Therefore the theme for this year’s conference is Urban Living and Multicultural Cities in Asia: From Colonial Past to Global Future.