There is no point for an application to write the "/sys/devices/platform/jz-lcd.0/allow_downscaling" file. Either your program needs downscaling, or it does not; and this is not something that changes at runtime.
This is different for "/sys/devices/platform/jz-lcd.0/keep_aspect_ratio". It is possible to toggle between fullscreen and apect ratio using the combo Power+A, but some applications might want to have a menu option for that. Then it's fine to read/write the file, as long as you handle errors and don't crash/segfault if the file doesn't exist.
This cannot be done using environment variables, because then it would be specific to SDL1 applications, and you would have to re-set the video mode for the setting to be applied.