This paper is built on the following research questions: (i) What are the direct/indirect relationships between Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) and sustainability protocols? (ii) Could the sustainability protocols constitute a solution towards the achievement of SDG11? We underline that, on the one hand, the SDGs are guidelines to support the development of sustainable policies and thus address all elements that may affect them, and on the other hand, sustainability protocols are assessment tools to promote sustainability-conscious design while remaining focused on the built environment. In the Italian regulatory context, the paper highlights how this difference in terms of focus and scale means that they only overlap and mutually reinforce each other with regard to certain aspects, more related to energy and air pollution issues and less to the social aspects of sustainability. Even if there is not always a direct relationship between the evaluation criteria of the protocols and the indicators of SDG11, it is possible to conclude that the sustainability protocols can facilitate the achievement of the SDG11 targets, acting as a key for the implementation of sustainable cities and helping in structuring the process leading to sustainability in a broader framework.
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