LONDON (AFP) The stadiums that will play host to gold medal-winning performances at the 2012 Olympic Games are fast taking shape in a once rundown area of east London. Bulldozers roar and forests of cranes dot the landscape as orange warning lights flash - the site is a little boys dream come to life, stretching as far as the naked eye can see. The main stadium, with its distinctive crossed white girders, is unmistakeable at the edge of the development - less spectacular than the Birds Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but imposing all the same. The other striking building dominating the skyline is the Aquatics Centre, designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, its half-completed roof resembling a curled leaf. In the distance, the first of 11 apartment blocks is nearing completion in the Olympic Village, which will house 23,000 athletes and officials during the Games. David Higgins, an Australian recruited as chief executive of the Olympic Development Authority because of his experience of building venues for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is satisfied with the progress. We are well into the structure now on all the major venues and the village and media centre and in a years time the structure will be finished on virtually all those projects, he said in an interview with AFP. You can see a lot of it coming out of the ground now as well as the big shopping centre at the middle of the site. The sites workforce will mushroom by 4,000 to 11,000 this year, as the transformation of an area once covered with largely dilapidated warehouses and car repair workshops accelerates. And the once sceptical local population appears to be coming round to the idea of playing host to the Olympic circus - recent surveys have shown support running at around 80 percent. Julianne Marriott, a tourist guide, said the interest in visiting the site was increasing all the time. We are starting to see more people from abroad now, with people coming from other European countries but also from Russia because they are hosting the (2014 Winter) Olympics and from Rio, which is organising the 2016 Games. But most of all its just the great British taxpayers who want to find out what is happening here, what our moneys going on and what is going to happen after the Olympics, she said. The key to securing the support of local people has been promises that they will be left with more than just a white elephant once the Olympic flame is extinguished in two-and-a-half years time. Understandably, people want to know what the long-term benefits will be of a project with an overall budget of over eight billion pounds (nine billion euros, 13 billion dollars). So a separate company has been created to manage the legacy of the Olympic Park, with London keen to show it has learned from the mistakes made by host cities in the past. Many of the facilities for the 2004 Athens Games are rusting away and the Birds Nest is still seeking a post-Games role in Beijing - the under-used stadium was recently filled with fake snow to become a winter wonderland. But organisers say the London site has been designed so it can become a self-contained city capable of hosting a thriving community once the Games are over. An unusual feature compared to other Olympics is that the stadiums 80,000 capacity will be shrunk to around 25,000 after the Games, by dismantling the upper tiers. Higgins is cautious about the thorny issue of the legacy - it is not his organisations responsibility - but as he gazes across London from his office in the Canary Wharf financial district he can see the long-term potential. The thing that makes this project so unique and the difference for example from Sydney is that this site is a mile from Canary Wharf, it is two miles from the City of London, it has nine major railway lines intersecting on the site, its going to be a new city. That will bring jobs, opportunities and itll be a place that people want to live in because of the infrastructure investments and the parks. Importantly, the guts of a new city - the power stations, a sewage system and the open spaces - are being constructed now, rather than after development occurs, Higgins points out. I think it is all incredibly exciting, said Marriott. It is going to be a brilliant place, both during and after the Games.