Assessing the New Municipalism Reform of Advisory Councils: The Cases of Madrid and Barcelona (2015–2019)
New Municipalism governments in Madrid and Barcelona (2015 − 2019) promoted a new agenda which included participatory budgeting, e-initiatives, and randomly selected forums. Both cities implemented deep modifications in their Advisory Councils’ (AC) systems while the ‘New Municipalism movement’ (radical-left candidacies) was in government for first time. In this article we reflect on how these municipal administrations faced the different strategies for reform across their ecosystem of ACs. For this purpose, our analysis relies on six dimensions (drivers, inclusiveness, deliberation, communication, policy-making capacity and connectedness) which are identified in the literature and are empirically applied through a comparative case study (thirty-one interviews). Despite the common agenda, the cases show dissimilarities which are connected to alternative reform strategies: one case was characterized by experimentation (Madrid), the other by slight improvement (Barcelona). Path dependency contributes to understanding these alternative logics, even when a common agenda was at play.