Background: Understanding the impact of local communities on wellbeing is a paramount Sustainable Development Goal. In order to inform people-centred planning interventions, it is important to understand what demographic groups need supportive communities the most and where. This study explored associations between perceived neighbourhood characteristics and cognitive vulnerability, and the moderating role of age and urbanity of the place of residence. Methods: A convenience sample of 224 Irish adults completed a survey assessing cognitive vulnerability and perceptions of neighbourhood qualities, together with sociodemographic and residential information. Correlational analyses explored bivariate associations as well as moderating effects. A subsample (n=142) provided qualitative accounts of their preferences of neighbourhood characteristics. Results: Regression analyses showed that controlling for sociodemographic factors, higher self-reported neighbourhood pleasantness was associated with lower cognitive vulnerability, particularly in older adults who lived in the most rural and urban areas (p=0.006). Qualitative accounts suggested urban–rural variations in perceived accessibility and perceptual stressors, and age-related variations in social preferences. Conclusions: Our findings indicate a complex association between neighbourhood characteristics and cognitive wellbeing, highlighting the potential benefits of neighbourhood pleasantness for cognition particularly for older people in very rural or very urbanised places. Implications for research and environmental interventions are discussed.