Abstract: In Australia, as in many other countries, private high-density housing is typically marketed as the domain of middle- and higher-income residents. But, in practice, it accommodates many lower-income households. These households often live in mixed-income communities alongside wealthier neighbours, but, because of constrained budgets, they rely more heavily on access to community services and facilities. This has implications for public infrastructure planning in high-density neighbourhoods where private property ownership dominates. In this article, we examine two neighbourhood case studies within the same local government area in Sydney that have sizable populations of lower-income households living in apartments, but which provide markedly different day-to-day experiences for residents. We consider the causes of these varying outcomes and implications for neighbourhood-scale planning and development. The article argues that coordinated and collaborative planning processes are key to ensuring that the needs of lower-income households are met in privately developed apartment neighbourhoods.