An interview with Andrew-Cole Tyson, intern landscape architect, community builder, and agent of positive change.
For 28 year-old Andrew Cole-Tyson, sustainability is a personal ethic that goes well beyond incorporating eco-conscious habits into his lifestyle. From his personal civic involvements to his work in landscape and planning at 2WR, Inc., Tyson is committed to fostering sustainable community development, investing in people, and creating places that stimulate positive relationships. You may have seen the fingerprints of Andrew’s work around the River Region – from bicycle rickshaws downtown to colorful murals in West Montgomery, Andrew is igniting positive changes in the Capital City.
A Birmingham native and graduate of Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design & Construction, Tyson is professionally known for resource recycling and conservation-based design and planning. He explained that he is “motivated by the intrinsically positive values of sustainable urban design: its economic value, as well as the impact it has on the quality of life of the residents.”
Tyson was honored at the recent EcoMAX Retro Expo with the 2010 EcoMAX Sustainability Leadership Award for leading the way with sustainable initiatives in the River Region.
Full of Life Urban Farm
The community garden on the corner of Nixon Times’ Broughton and Emerson streets was once nothing more than a vacant lot and a sketch in Andrew Cole-Tyson’s notebook. Now, it is a community gathering space that encourages healthy lifestyles and fosters a sense of pride among the neighborhood residents.
Andrew dedicated his time to the vision, planning, and construction intern landscape architect, community builder, and agent of positive change of the project, forming relationships with stakeholders and long-time neighborhood residents who ensured the garden met the needs of the community. The Full of Life Urban Farm was recently incorporated into the City of Montgomery’s large-scale West Montgomery Initiative, which is putting an intense focus on the improvement of the West Fairview Avenue area.
) milled with discarded oyster shells from Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Montgomery.
The garden’s irrigation system centers around a series of 55-gallon barrels that collect rainwater – the plastic containers stored soft drink syrup in a former life and were donated by Coca-Cola Bottling and the Alabama Clean Water Partnership. Manure was donated by a local farm to use as compost; mulch was donated from a City of Montgomery landfill; discarded pallets were used to create an on-site compost structure; and finally, muscadine and blackberry trellises were constructed as an alternative to a conventional perimeter fence.
Montgomery Pedicab Company
Facebook: Montgomery Pedicab Company
In 2010, Andrew and business partner, Clay McInnis, introduced the pedicab concept to downtown Montgomery. The idea was born from a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, and Andrew says that the presence of the pedicabs has served to encourage folks to use bicycles to get around town.
The rickshaws are a common site on Biscuits baseball game nights when crowds flock to Riverwalk Stadium. They are also used for private parties, transporting guests to weddings and other events downtown. While they may not reduce the amount of traffic on the popular downtown streets, they certainly remind motorists to ease off their gas pedals in the pedestrian and bicycle- heavy area.
Cypress Nature Park
Cypress Nature Park is an effort of the City of Montgomery, the Montgomery Tree Committee and the newly-formed Montgomery Nature Conservancy to provide an outdoor environmental education facility and new outdoor recreational opportunities while promoting the preservation of natural resources. The site is located on a 260-acre tract of undeveloped land in close proximity to Montgomery’s downtown business district, beginning at Riverwalk Amphitheatre.
The Montgomery Nature Conservancy, born out of the Montgomery Tree Committee, has been working on Cypress Nature Park for over 5 years. The donated time and talents of Andrew Cole-Tyson and Christopher Anderson of Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and many others have proven invaluable to the project.
The Hampstead Institute Downtown Farm
Hampstead Institute and the City of Montgomery have worked closely with Tyson and the team at 2WR on the concept and design of the new Hampstead Institute Downtown Farm.
The farm, which broke ground on November 23, 2010, will serve as an exciting new stop on the Lightning Route as visitors explore Montgomery. The farm also promises to be a destination of choice for school field trips, as educators from the River Region and beyond are invited to bring their students to the Capital City to visit this unique, all-natural working farm.
Recycling Community Resources
In addition to the many and varied projects that Andrew involves himself with daily—or perhaps as a natural extension of those projects—Tyson and a group of similarly- minded young professionals plan to launch the Recycled Community Resources Foundation. The foundation will exist to craft design solutions that revitalize communities by using green technology applications, renewable energy resources, special project planning and development, faith-based connector programs, conventional work force training, and civic sponsorship and planning assistance for community events.
Known for his passion for people and community, and a seemingly boundless energy for projects related to conservation by design, Tyson continues to make a positive impact in the lives of those touched by his efforts across the River Region.
About the EcoMAX® Sustainability Leadership Award:
In 2008, MAX established the EcoMAX Sustainability Leadership Award to recognize individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to sustainable living initiatives in the River Region. Previous recipients include small business operators and state policy makers. Learn more at myEcoMAX.com.