Within Australian cities, social and economic inequalities manifest themselves spatially. Perceived neighbourhood disorder and neighbourhood reputation are relevant to considering the ways in which social and economic inequalities translate into place-based inequalities. This article explores the ways in which residents of two socio-economically contrasting urban areas describe and explain neigh bourhood disorder and neighbourhood reputation. It draws upon qualitative data from 40 in-depth interviews, in addition to quantitative data from a postal survey. The qualitative findings highlighted how issues of neighbourhood disorder and reputation were intertwined. In both areas, participants sought to portray themselves and their neighbourhoods in positive ways, by attributing responsibility for neighbourhood disorder to people who were unlike themselves, and by highlighting places that were perceived to have worse reputations and higher levels of disorder. The findings are considered in light of Bourdieu's theory of capitals. This article indicates that both neighbourhood disorder and reputation are pathways through which social, economic and health inequities are maintained in urban areas.