Recent research has proposed a scale-dependence to relationships between native diversity and exotic invasions. At fine spatial scales, native–exotic richness relationships should be negative as higher native richness confers resistance to invasion. At broad scales, relationships should be positive if natives and exotics respond similarly to extrinsic factors. Yet few studies have examined both native and exotic richness patterns across gradients of human influence, where impacts could affect native and exotic species differently. We examined native–exotic richness relationships and extrinsic drivers of plant species richness and distributions across an urban development gradient in remnant oak savanna patches. In sharp contrast to most reported results, we found a negative relationship at the regional scale, and no relationship at the local scale. The negative regional-scale relationship was best explained by extrinsic factors, surrounding road density and climate, affecting natives and exotics in opposite ways, rather than a direct effect of native on exotic richness, or vice versa. Models of individual species distributions also support the result that road density and climate have largely opposite effects on native and exotic species, although simple life history traits (life form, dispersal mode) do not predict which habitat characteristics are important for particular species. Roads likely influence distributions and species richness by increasing both exotic propagule pressure and disturbance to native species. Climate may partially explain the negative relationship due to differing climatic preferences within the native and exotic species pools. As gradients of human influence are increasingly common, negative broad-scale native–exotic richness relationships may be frequent in such landscapes.