This website is meant as a beginning, an introduction, to the RNC neighborhood research, and not a “final product” as many immersive learning courses often strive for. With the help of students, Dr. Erickson hopes to continue updating this website with even more stories, photos, history, and social analysis.
There are three main areas that we see open to further research.
First, our project did not focus our ethnographic research on RNC churches or religious life. Few residents we spoke with attended church in the neighborhood (many attend churches in other neighborhoods). The churches we contacted (all eight of them) informed us that most of their congregants were not neighborhood residents. More research is necessary to learn about the religious beliefs and practices of neighborhood residents, including those who are not Christian, and the relationship between churches the neighborhoods in which they reside.
Second, additional research could be conducted on the relationships between Ball State University, the RNC neighborhood, other neighborhoods surrounding the University, and the city of Muncie, in terms of real estate development, zoning laws, and absentee landlords. As of December 5, 2016, The City of Muncie proposed a landlord registry. We are curious about how this registry will impact Muncie neighborhoods–specifically the RNC.
Third, we recommend more research on the effects of deindustrialization on this neighborhood and Muncie more broadly. For example, we might address the decrease of union factory jobs that paid living wages with the increase of low-wage service sector jobs (for example, in restaurants and retail shops) along with the increase of FIRE industries (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate), all of which we witnesses in the RNC neighborhood.
Is there something about the Riverside-Normal City neighborhood that deserves more attention and that we have not listed here? Leave a comment below and let us know what you would like to see in future research projects!