The leader of Medway Council said the area was "a city in all but name"
Five towns in Kent are making a collective bid for city status during the Queen's Jubilee Year in 2012.
The campaign brings together the Medway towns of Rochester, Strood, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
The leader of Medway Council said the area had huge potential and was "a city in all but name".
Medway made two unsuccessful bids for city status in 2000 and 2002. On the last occasion it lost out to Brighton and Hove.
Architects, council chiefs and regeneration experts are meeting at the St George's Centre in Chatham Dockyard to officially start the bid.
Councillor Rodney Chambers said: "It's the perfect backdrop for us to outline our intention to bid for city status.
"We believe that we have the strongest possible case. We are a city in all but name."
Mr Chambers said Medway had four universities, a cathedral, historic dockyard and an "ambitious programme of regeneration".
People in Rochester give their reaction to the bid for city status
The bid brings together Medway Council, Locate in Kent, Tourism South East, the Historic Dockyard Chatham and the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).
Rival bids are set to include Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and Reading in Berkshire.
Rochester had been a city for eight centuries but lost its city status due to an administrative error when Medway became a unitary authority.
The change in status was only spotted in 2002 when a local group found that it was missing from the Lord Chancellor's list of UK cities.