This article draws on case study research of a low-income neighbourhood in Leeds to explore experiences of, and attitudes towards, place-based community. Through tracing social relations in the neighbourhood over time, from the early twentieth century to the present day, the ways in which community is embedded in everyday activities and social interactions, and the social impact of socioeconomic change on local neighbourhoods, is demonstrated. It is argued that the relentless and nostalgic focus on local communities as an idealised form of social solidarity has meant that the reasons why place-based community has declined over time have been overlooked. The article challenges the assumption that social fragmentation on neighbourhood levels necessarily indicates antisocial trends or a lack of a sense of duty towards others, and draws attention to the constraints people face in developing relationships with others. Questions are raised about the viability of top-down attempts to shape social relations in particular ways.